William arrived in Israel from Jordan on Monday. [Getty]
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Faith And Beauty Bloom: Inside Edmonton’s New Islamic-Inspired Garden
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world’s newest and northernmost Islamic-inspired garden has been sculpted out
of Alberta’s rugged countryside on a tract of land 15 minutes northwest of the
Aga Khan Garden, funded by a $25-million donation from the philanthropist and
spiritual leader of the world’s Shia Ismaili Muslims, opens Canada Day weekend
on the grounds of the University of Alberta Botanic Garden.
Aga Khan chose the site in 2009 when he came to Edmonton to deliver the
university’s convocation address. It is just the second garden of its kind in
North America, and is larger than the one that opened in Toronto in 2015.
elements were drawn from Persian gardens established in the 16th century and
Islamic architectural treasures, including the Taj Mahal, Humayun’s Tomb and
the Red Fort in India and Al-Azhar Park in Egypt. The 12-acre plot is not
intended to be a religious space but a place for people to learn about one
another with nature as a unifying feature.
is a huge opportunity to draw a distinction between the culture of Islam and
the religion,” says Lee Foote, director of the University of Alberta Botanic
Garden. “It is a showcase for architecture and cultural meaning. Those with
deep faith will see in it the work of their creator. In others, awe will be
inspired by the architecture or the wonder of nature.”
project was planned and designed over eight years by a U.S.-based landscape
architecture firm that dispatched employees to study historical sites around
the globe. They saturated themselves in Islamic landscapes and consulted with
scholars to understand the underlying themes. Medieval Islamic gardens are
known for their use of geometric lines and terraces to tame uneven terrain.
Water is a primary component and is often displayed in a variety of ways.
don’t do projects like this all the time,” says Breck Gastinger, who worked
with the principal architect, Thomas Woltz. “It was remarkable in terms of the
high aspirations and what the Aga Khan wanted the University of Alberta to
gain. It made the whole thing challenging and pretty unique.”
months of construction ended last week. The public will be able to enter the
gardens for the first time on June 29. A formal grand opening will be held in
university sees the Aga Khan Garden as a catalyst toward better understanding and
a boon to tourism. It believes it could attract 90,000 more visitors a year to
its botanic site. Without it, the 240-acre parcel, which houses a research
centre and alpine, Indigenous and Japanese gardens, has attracted about 70,000
is an evolutionary moment in the [botanic] garden’s history,” says Kerry
Mulholland, the communications and marketing co-ordinator for the University of
Alberta Botanic Garden.
Islamic garden is the 11th financed by the Aga Khan. He has enjoyed long
friendships with Canada. He was made an honorary citizen in 2010, was invited
to address Parliament in 2014, and opened the Global Centre for Pluralism in
Ottawa last year. He has also been awarded an honorary law degree by the
University of Alberta.
its harsh winter climate, he chose Edmonton as the garden site because of the
city’s sizable Muslim community and its historical significance: It was home to
Canada’s first mosque, built in 1938 by early Arab Muslim immigrants.
history of Muslims in Canada can be traced back at least 125 years. Many landed
on the East Coast at a young age and gradually migrated to Manitoba and
Saskatchewan and other parts west. Once in Alberta, some forged a living as
peddlers and storekeepers, while others became fur traders, cattlemen and hotel
operators with business dealings that stretched into the Northwest Territories.
they would lose their culture and religion in their adopted country, the
newcomers built the first mosque at a cost of $4,850 on a piece of donated land
which is now about a kilometre from the downtown hockey rink that serves as the
home of the NHL’s Oilers. The original structure has since been moved to a
living history attraction called Fort Edmonton Park.
Aga Khan inherited the role of Imam to the world’s 15 million Ismaili Muslims
from his grandfather more than a half-century ago. Far more than a cleric, he
is the founder of an international aid organization and oversees a network of
agencies that pour vast amounts of money into charities and projects that
support social development and education in oft-neglected parts of the world.
is now 81, and announced this unremitting gift to the University of Alberta
nearly a decade ago. His hope at the time was that it would be revered for its
aesthetic value while at the same time be a setting for learning more about
is Islam viewed through the medium of a garden,” Arif Karmali, a commercial
developer and a member of Edmonton’s Ismaili community, says during a weekday
walk-through. There are a little over one million Muslims in Canada, and among
them are an estimated 90,000 Ismailis. “No matter where you come from, you can
appreciate the beauty of nature.”
out of the forest, the Aga Khan Garden sits at the edge of a pond flanked by
orchards where apples, apricots, cherries, pears and plums flourish. Seeds from
fruit trees and plants in the wetlands will be gathered to provide stock for
reclamation and remediation projects caused by mining in the oil sands.
are not just a pretty face,” Ms. Mulholland says. “Serious work is done here.”
than 20,000 annuals and perennials, 10,000 plants, 3,000 shrubs and 500 trees
were planted in the last year as part of the project. They were chosen for
their colour, fragrance, texture and toughness.
have to be able to survive,” Ms. Mulholland says. “You can’t grow figs and
Gastinger says the design team relied on the advice of experts when it came to
deciding on the array of plant species. The botanical garden was founded as a
unit within the university’s faculty of agriculture in 1959 and has been the
site of much research. There is a massive greenhouse on the property, a
tropical showcase, herbs and sensory gardens.
know what works and what doesn’t,” Mr. Gastinger says.
stone was used as much as possible during construction. The majority of paving
stones were fashioned from granite quarried in Quebec. Patterns were created by
using similar stones with different finishes. The columns on an upper terrace,
which offers magnificent views of the gardens below, were rendered out of
Portuguese limestone, which was selected for its character and lighter
are 20 stone columns, each 18 feet tall, topped by a colourful canvas. It is a
visage that evokes an impression of a rising ancient ruin.
is no architecture like this anywhere in Alberta,” says Paul Swanson, the
assistant communications co-ordinator for the botanic garden. “I don’t think
there is anything near as ornate as this.”
of the local Muslim community have been recruited as docents and will offer
visitors free interpretive tours.
garden tour starts with a walk through the woods along a meandering path
beneath a canopy of trees. The sky and forest reflect off a pool of water.
are stepped terraces intersected by irrigation channels and pathways, fountains
that produce a bare trickle and one cascading waterfall. There are sunken
gardens full of purple and white irises, crimson and white petunias and Asiatic
lilies. Life-sized frogs, salamanders and toads cast in bronze perch around the
edge of a man-made stream, and steel replicas of walleye and sturgeon rest
motionless in the shallows. A sweet fragrance emanates from creamy white roses,
and the smell of mulch fills the air.
go about the business of pollinating, butterflies flit around like kites
steered in the breeze. Dragonflies zip over the pond where orchards are planted
on both sides. A sandpiper returns to a nest hidden by a cover of flowers.
will be tulips in next spring and a two-storey pavilion adjacent to the
garden’s central courtyard is scheduled to open next year. There is space for
music programs, lectures receptions and movie nights in an amphitheatre created
from a natural earthen bowl. Mr. Karmali says local Muslims hope it can be used
to lure Muslim entertainers that have previously skipped over Edmonton while
travelling between gigs in Toronto and Vancouver.
Aga Khan envisioned all of this during that visit to the botanic gardens so
many years ago. He liked the site so much that he scrapped plans to build the
hope is that this will help us break down barriers,” Mr. Karmali says. “Islam
is not just what people read about in the news. There is so much depth to it.
We hope people visit and start to inquire.
isn’t political and it isn’t religious. It is just a garden. A beautiful
Sunday, a picnic was arranged at the Aga Khan Garden as a thank you to the
contractors that have worked on the project. Masons and other labourers, a
lunch-box crowd, basked in the beauty around them.
is one thing to see the place empty and another thing to see people discovering
it and enjoying it,” Mr. Gastinger says. “It was pretty remarkable.”
bars journalist from Prince William event because he’s Muslim
Associated Press journalist was prevented from covering a visit by Britain's
Prince William to the Israeli prime minister's official residence after
security agents questioned him about his religion and ethnic background.
Qena, the AP's chief television producer for Israel and Palestine, was held at
the entrance to the residence for 45 minutes, forcing him to miss Tuesday's
event, while other journalists were allowed to enter. Mr Netanyahu's office
later apologised, citing “human error”.
Qena, an Albanian citizen, has been with the AP for 10 years, including three
based in Jerusalem. He said he was repeatedly questioned by security guards
about his "ethnic origin."
colleagues were questioned about his religion and whether he was a Muslim. He
had already registered for the event and been informed that he would be allowed
Associated Press decries this blatant ethnic and religious profiling of an AP
journalist and calls on the prime minister’s office to cease such biased
practices immediately,” said Lauren Easton, the AP’s director of media
Foreign Press Association, which represents media covering Israel and
Palestine, condemned the “disgraceful” incident.
call on the prime minister’s office to apologise immediately, and urge the Duke
of Cambridge’s office to speak out against this offensive behaviour, which has
marred a historic visit,” the FPA said. “Enough is enough.”
meeting Mr Netanyahu on Tuesday, Prince William paid the first official British
royal visit to Palestine on Wednesday, meeting Palestinian President Mahmoud
Abbas, touring a refugee camp near the West Bank city of Ramallah and voicing
his hope for peace in the Middle East.
very glad our two countries work so closely together and have had success
stories with education and relief work in the past, so, long may that
continue," William told President Mahmoud Abbas.
sentiments are the same as yours in hoping that there is a lasting peace in the
region," the prince said.
from two families, including six children reported missing in Kerala; family
fears role of Islamic State
disappearance of 11 people, including six children and three women from
Kerala's northern district of Kasargod, has raised fears that they may have
joined the dreaded Islamic State (IS).
people, who had disappeared from the district along with eight others from
Palakkad district under similar circumstances in July 2016, were later found to
be a part of the Islamic State front in Afghanistan. The eleven people, who
have been reported missing now, had left the state last month saying they were
going to Dubai.
missing persons have been identified as members of two families: Sawad (35),
his two wives Naseera (25) and Rahamath (26), and their three children Musab
(6), Marjana (3) and Muhammil (11 months) from Chemnad went missing along with
Ansar, his wife, and three children.
matter came to light after Naseera's father, Abdul Hameed approached the police
after he lost contact with her after 15 June. However, Sawad — who had a
perfume and cell phones business in Dubai since the last couple of years — told
one of his relatives in a voice message that he and his family were in Yemen.
relative said that he had reached out to Sawad to make sure the family had not
joined Islamic State after he learned about the complaint lodged by Hameed. In
the voice message accessed by Firstpost, Sawad said that he had gone to Yemen
with his family for educational purpose. Kasargod Police, which has registered
a case on the basis of Hameed's complaint, said they would ascertain the
veracity of the voice message.
the relatives of Ansar have not made any complaint with the police so far.
However, Kasargod police chief A Sreenivas said that they will investigate both
cases together. Sreenivas told Firstpost that it was Hameed who informed the
police about the disappearance of the second family.
educated Indians falling prey to IS recruiters
first batch of Islamic State recruits was professionally qualified men and
women from wealthy families. Among the 21 people currently in Afghanistan were
a doctor couple, an engineer, and a manager of an international school where
wealthy non-resident Indians send their children. Four of the men had left
India with their wives, while two went along with their children as well. The
batch included four couples, two kids, and three bachelors.
ideology a lure for new recruits?
Rehman, a social activist based in Padanna in Kasargod district, said that the
target of the missing persons may not be Islamic State as the militant group
has lost most of its strongholds in Syria, Iraq and even in Afghanistan. He
told Firstpost that they may have gone to Yemen to join the Salafi community,
which is active in some parts of the country.
of the first batch of missing persons were found influenced by Salafism (a
puritanical form of Islam). Salafis are people who idealise the life led by
early Muslims. They believe the lives of people of that time were worth
emulating for going to heaven.
believe that the Islamic State recruiters were trying to lure the youths to the
outfit through teachings of Salafism. Hence, the relatives of the 11 missing
people are concerned about the fate of their kin.
reports regarding the disappearance of the 11 people have also created panic
among the Muslims in the district since the Islamic State recruiters have been
active in Kasargod and another northern district, Kannur. The recruiters have
been luring youths into the hardcore terror outfit through religious centres
promising eternal life in heaven.
reveals IS recruiters active in Kerala
National Investigation Agency (NIA), which is investigating the case related to
the first batch of missing persons, has found that Kasargod had a separate
Islamic State module to motivate and recruit youth for the terror outfit. A
person identified as Abdul Rashid Abdulla was said to be the chief recruiter.
agency named Rashid and his accomplice Yasmeen Mohammed Zahid, a native of
Bihar, in its chargesheet. It said that Rashid had motivated a number of youths
from the district to exit India, along with their families, to join the Islamic
Rashid is believed to be in Afghanistan, Yasmeen was arrested while trying to
take a flight from Delhi to Kabul. An NIA court in Kochi had sentenced the
30-year-old woman to seven years' rigorous imprisonment in March this year.
NIA investigation further revealed that Rashid held classes at Kasargod and
other places to propagate the Islamic State ideology of violent jihad and to
expand the terror group's network in the state. The agency found that Rashid
had motivated another set of 14 people to cross the border.
of the 21 people who crossed the border in July 2016 have also been trying to
propagate the Islamic State ideology from the militant group's territories.
Many of them tried to brainwash their relatives and friends through messaging
Rehman, whose relative is among the first batch of 21 people who crossed the
border in July 2016, said some of the youths who communicated with him have
been exhorting him to discard the life among ‘Murthadeengal and Musharikkukal’ (Un-Islamic
people and idol worshippers) and join them.
relative Ashfaq Majeed told him in one of the messages accessed by Firstpost
that they were having a wonderful life in Afghanistan. When Rehman asked Ashfaq
to return to Kerala and live as a true Muslim sharing their wealth with the
poor, he said that they will never return.
will never meet again in this world. We can meet in heaven. We are waiting for
our turn. We have love for life. But we do not want the kind of life that most
people lead. This life's value is not even worth the weight of a feather of a
mosquito," Ashfaq said.
100 Keralites recruited so far
to information gathered by the police, about 100 people from the state have
joined the Islamic State so far. Kannur DSP P Sadanandan, who is heading a
special squad probing the Islamic State-related cases in the state's northern
region, said investigation had revealed that about 100 Keralites were in
Islamic State territories in Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan since 2014.
the 100, 21 were from Kasargod and 38 from Kannur. Another 12 Keralites working
in Bahrain also joined the terror outfit. Keralites, who were in other
countries in the Middle East, may also have joined the Islamic State but the
state police could not confirm this.
16 Islamic State recruits are feared to have been killed in military operations
in Afghanistan and in various countries in the Middle East, according to
information collected by the squad after vetting more than 300 audio clips and
messages from apps like WhatsApp and Telegram. Thirty percent of those in the
Islamic State territories are women and children.
midnight in Kot Sultan – a small town of district Layyah in Pakistan’s Punjab
province. The streets are empty and stars lit the skies.
in the heart of sleepy town, there exists a small building, the election office
of Sardar Sajan Khan Tangwani a local candidate running for the Provincial
a dozen volunteers crowd into a mid-sized room of this election office. They
are busy on their computers and laptops interacting with voters through social
media, especially Facebook.
Pakistan, majority of the population use internet at night. Keeping in view,
Tangwani’s small-sized digital media teamwork through the night to cash-in on
the internet users in his constituency.
the corner, Sardar Sahib himself is busy interacting with his followers and
voters through Facebook Live.
a glimpse of how much election campaigns have changed in Pakistan.
media is a powerful tool and the most efficient way to reach educated voters.
Using Facebook for political campaigns have become the norm globally and we are
just benefiting from it,” Qasim Khan Tangwani, chief strategist of political
campaign of his father told Al Arabiya English.
Pakistan prepares to hold general elections on July 25, political parties and
politicians have turned to Facebook to connect with voters and followers.
is no denying that social media is the most efficient way to reach a broad
audience. Using Facebook for political campaigns have become the norm globally
as it enables the candidates to reach out to their voters.
the importance of social media, political parties in Pakistan have already
established social media cells comprising energetic, youthful and enthusiastic
members to reach out to citizens and convince them to vote for their respective
is a two-way conversation happening where people share what they care about and
politicians as well as political parties get honest, real-time feedback,” Omar
Khan, a social media strategist said.
by the way politicians and political parties in the UK and the US use social
media to defeat their opponents, big political parties and politicians in
Pakistan have established social media teams to influence voters.
Interviews and off-the-record conversation with government officials revealed
that political parties, besides advertising on traditional mediums such as
television and newspapers, are investing in digital marketing in a bid to
compete with their rivals.
January 2018 internet penetration in Pakistan stood at 22 percent, encompassing
44.6 million users. Meanwhile, number of active social media users in Pakistan
stand at 35 million with a penetration of 18 percent at the end of January
of internet users in Pakistan are young – including college and university
going students. There are hence apprehensions that Facebook can influence
general elections in Pakistan.
April this year, Facebook Inc. Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg told US
lawmakers that fake accounts can affect upcoming elections in Pakistan, India,
Brazil and other countries, adding that Facebook will weed out bogus accounts
seeking to interfere in elections and spread misinformation.
said that fake profiles can influence election results and opinions by
spreading false news.
statement prompted a Pakistani to move to court requesting it to direct interim
federal government, Election Commission of Pakistan and Pakistan
Telecommunication Authority (PTA) to regulate social media to ensure the
democratic process is not harmed in the elections.
court has served notices to the people concerned. However, experts believe that
regulating social media will be an uphill task. Authorities in Pakistan fear
that hundreds of thousands of fake Facebook accounts can influence elections
while concerned departments lack expertise and sources to counter them.
fake Facebook accounts can surely affect elections and we are just unable to
stop them,” a senior government official told Al Arabiya English.
government, however, welcomed an announcement by Zuckerberg that the social
media portal will require all political ads on its platform to clearly mention
who is paying for the message and for their identity to be verified, in a bid
to curb outside election interference.
to know that Zuckerberg has realized it. Facebook must restore its integrity,”
Pervez Malik, a former Pakistani federal minister said.
main political parties in the country – the Pakistan Muslim League-N and
Pakistan Tehreek Insaf – have tasked thousands of their social media activists
to generate public opinion in their party’s favour.
a 1,000-member social media team is busy day and night making public opinion in
favor of PML-N,” Atif Rauf, head of social media team of former ruling party
the PML-N told Al Arabiya English.
to be a “social media party”, the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) which is the
main opposition to former ruling party the PML-N has launched its election
strategy with a social media summit.
Taliban militants join peace process in response to Saudi Imams’ speech
group of eighteen Taliban insurgents joined peace process in response to the
latest speech by the Saudi Imams and growing consensus for reconciliation on
domestic and international level, the local authorities in Nangarhar said
officials claim that the group led by Mohammad Hassan also famous as Zubair
renounced violence and laid down their weapons after Imams of Mecca Grand
Mosque and the Nabuwi Mosque declared the ongoing conflict in Afghanistan as
Haram or forbidden.
governor Hayatullah Hayat told reporters that a group of eighteen Taliban
insurgents led by Mohammad Hassan also famous as Zubair joined peace process
after they were affected with the recent Fatwas/speeches of the prayer leaders
of Mecca Grand Mosque and the Nabuwi mosque.
said the militants also handed over eighteen weapons to the Afghan intelligence
directorate in Nangarhar.
to Hayat, the group was engaged in violence and war against the government for
the past five years and recent decided to renounce violence and join peace
also added that the government and the international community are prepared for
any type of negotiation for peace and to use all means and possible ways for
commander of the group Mohammad Hassan told reporters that they decided to join
peace process considering the demands by the religious scholars of the country,
speech of the Grand Mosque of Mecca, and after seeing the environment of love
among the people during the ceasefire period.
further added that he and his comrades have taken decision to join the police
ranks or any other institution to serve the people.
also expressed remorse regarding the activities they committed in the past and
urged the other militants to renounce violence and join peace process.
Afghanistan, the Taliban’s anti-Daesh squad gains a reputation for ruthlessness
Hunkered down in mountain trenches overlooking a vast area of desert and
mud-walled houses in southern Afghanistan, the Daesh fighters opened fire on
the approaching Taliban, wounding four and sending the others scrambling for
was the start of a battle neither group could afford to lose. Whoever triumphed
would take a significant step toward controlling the future of one of the
world’s most intractable insurgencies.
wanted to turn Afghanistan into the latest outpost in its self-declared
caliphate, while the Taliban feared being overrun by the fanatics who made
their name sweeping all before them in Iraq and Syria.
happened next — in the fall of 2015 — has gone down in radical circles as the
moment a new Taliban rapid-response force gained a decisive advantage in the
extremists’ bitter civil war.
notorious among civilians and fellow militants, the force has gone on to play a
key role in the Taliban’s increasingly violent and effective campaign to retake
control of Afghanistan. It is the spearhead of what the Afghan government
refers to as the “Red Unit” or “Danger Unit” — an elite group of thousands of
insurgent commandos equipped with US-made assault rifles, night vision apparatus,
heavy machine guns and 82mm rockets.
contrast to their rival’s growing strength, Daesh has resorted to staging
spectacular attacks on soft targets in Kabul, seemingly conceding that it
cannot hold swathes of territory against its better organized foe.
the war we were walking around jointly, not bothering each other,” recalled
Qazi Halim, a nom de guerre for one of the Taliban’s quick-reaction force
commandos. Now “this is the only unit which has defeated Daesh and of which
Daesh is afraid,” he said.
a Pashtun in his late 20s or early 30s, was speaking to Arab News shortly
before he was killed in a US airstrike on Tuesday.
three-day cease-fire between the Taliban and the Afghan government during Eid
this month led to joyous scenes across Afghanistan, as insurgents mingled
freely with soldiers and government officials. The Taliban said that the brief
truce proved the fundamentalist movement was united and that “all combatants
strictly follow” orders. This has not always been the case, however.
months before the 2015 confrontation in Zabul province, a fierce struggle for
the right to lead Afghanistan’s insurgency had been unfolding within the
movement was openly divided for the first time in its history as rank-and-file
members reeled from the news that its spiritual founder, Mullah Mohammed Omar,
had died from natural causes in 2013, only for his closest confidants to cover
up his death for more than two years. Daesh hoped to exploit the divisions and
become the main insurgent faction in the region.
response to this unprecedented challenge to its dominance, the Taliban stepped
up plans to activate a special forces commando unit tasked with crushing any
dissent within the movement’s ranks and wiping out its rivals, Halim told Arab
the summer of 2015, pictures began circulating on social media showing the Red
Unit already in training, with recruits dressed in combat fatigues and black
balaclavas doing push-ups, firing heavy machine guns and crawling through obstacle
courses. But it was not until the Taliban began to fracture after Omar’s
confirmed death that the commandos sprang into action.
News has learnt that the Red Unit is divided into several battalion-sized teams
of 300 to 350 men, picked according to how they perform at the Taliban’s
training camps. Each team is given responsibility for a province. In
emergencies, the teams work together to cover a zone consisting of several
provinces. As well as fighting rival insurgents, they also fight Afghan government
forces and US troops.
of the first teams was sent to the province of Farah, on the Iranian border in
western Afghanistan, where a Taliban splinter group under a dissident
commander, Mullah Mohammed Rasool, had formed.
Red Unit’s commandos swept into the area with devastating effect, killing
several of Rasool’s men and forcing him to flee to Pakistan. Mullah Mansour
Dadullah, an experienced fighter from a notorious insurgent family, stepped
into his place.
Dadullah’s leadership, the Taliban splinter group declared its allegiance to
Daesh and moved into Zabul, an impoverished region of wadis, deserts and
mountains dominated by ethnic Pashtuns. It settled in the district of Khak-e
Afghan in the north of the province.
of the Afghan government’s reach and initially welcomed by local villagers, the
Daesh fighters began to expand their area of operations. They soon targeted
Highway One, the main road linking Kabul and the south of Afghanistan.
a number of pinprick ambushes in which they kidnapped civilians traveling along
the highway, they abducted dozens of Hazaras, an ethnic minority of
predominantly Shiite Muslims. Those taken hostage included women and children.
abductions provoked outrage among Afghans in Kabul, who criticized the
government for being unable to protect its own people. The Taliban sensed an
opportunity. Eager to win more public support for its insurgency and desperate
to prevent Daesh from making further inroads into its territory, the movement
came up with a plan to hit back.
the Taliban sent a delegation of muftis — Islamic legal experts — and clerics
to Khak-e Afghan. The delegation and a group of Daesh scholars spent a week
trying to persuade each other that only their group should be allowed to
operate in the country.
the Taliban muftis ordered their rivals to surrender, the talks broke down.
Rather than wait for tensions to cool, the Taliban then sent hundreds of Red
Unit commandos to the area in November 2015. They were drawn from the teams for
the provinces of Zabul, Ghazni and Maidan Wardak.
from Maidan Wardak, was among them. The first name of his nom de guerre — Qazi
— is an honorific denoting someone trained in Islamic law. In Arabic and
Pashto, it means “judge.” The second part of the nom de guerre — Halim — has
been changed to protect his identity because he did not have the Taliban’s
permission to talk to Arab News.
in Khak-e Afghan, he found the Daesh fighters were a mixture of Afghans from
across the country and militants from Uzbekistan, who had their families with
them. Villagers reported seeing them traveling around the area on motorbikes
decorated with Dadullah’s name and the slogan “Long live Daesh.”
Red Unit tried for a final time to convince the Daesh militants to surrender,
sending a squad toward their mountain headquarters with an offer of clemency.
It was then that the Daesh fighters opened fire, injuring four of the Talibs
and triggering the battle that would change the course of the insurgents’ civil
relative of Dadullah’s who tried to evacuate the Daesh leader after the
fighting began confirmed to Arab News that the Taliban’s commandos were in
Khak-e Afghan at the time. Speaking on condition of anonymity, he said: “They
did the fighting and they cleared the area.” He added that their only aim
seemed to be “to kill Mansour Dadullah.”
the advance squad was hit, the Red Unit commandos regrouped and resumed their
attack at night, this time breaking through the Daesh lines. They began heading
deeper into the mountains, killing dozens of fighters as they progressed.
the next few days they searched local houses and found a number of the
kidnapped Hazaras tied up and blindfolded. Others lay dead, “slaughtered just
hours before,” said Halim.
he and his fellow commandos captured nine of the Uzbeks alive, they assembled a
makeshift Islamic court to put them on trial. After ordering them to confess in
front of the hostages to being members of Daesh, they hanged all nine.
Red Unit commandos eventually tracked down Dadullah by monitoring the military
radio traffic of the surviving Daesh fighters. They arrested the leader, took
him to an isolated valley and shot him.
the end of the operation, four members of the Red Unit were dead, but word of
the commandos’ strength had spread across Afghanistan, striking fear into Daesh
and causing alarm within the Afghan government.
Taliban leadership was so impressed by its troops’ showing in Zabul that it
turned them into a quick-reaction force under the leadership of its most famous
commander, a Pashtun named Pir Agha.
much of his background remains a mystery, Agha is believed to be in his 40s and
from Sangisar in the Panjwayi district of Kandahar. Afghans who have met him
describe him as an uncomplicated, but persuasive, public speaker.
businessman came face to face with Agha about a year before the Red Unit was
formed, in a ramshackle bazaar in Helmand province, near Pakistan.
businessman, who asked to remain anonymous, told Arab News that Agha gave a
speech in the border town of Baramcha to a number of local traders who had
assembled in a mosque there. In the speech, he denounced Daesh and asked them
to donate money to the Taliban.
has since stepped down from his role as head of the quick-reaction force to
become the Taliban’s shadow governor for Paktika province. However, his
commandos continue to call their force the “Unit of Pir Agha” in homage to his
are currently led by Mawlawi Abdullah, a Talib from Maidan Wardak who was the
main field commander in the Zabul battle.
the pride of the Red Unit, the quick-reaction force has proved to be an elusive
and formidable enemy for both Daesh and the Afghan government. Last fall it was
deployed to Achin district in Nangarhar province, eastern Afghanistan. Halim
claimed a number of the Daesh fighters he encountered there were in their
on April 2 this year, Afghan helicopter gunships attacked a religious ceremony
in the northern province of Kunduz, killing at least 36 people, including 30
children, according to a UN investigation.
government claimed its intended target was the Red Unit. Before his death this
week, Halim was unconcerned about being a wanted man. With the cease-fire over
and the Taliban again on the offensive, he walked the streets of Kabul in a
prayer cap and shalwar kameez — waiting for a mission that would prove to be
of 7 nations hit by US travel ban are majority Muslim
seven nations under the Trump administration’s travel ban — upheld by the U.S.
Supreme Court — include five majority Muslim countries, prompting dissenting
Justice Sonia Sotomayor to assert that the entry restrictions were motivated by
“animus toward the Muslim faith.” The administration cites security concerns.
list includes countries with a hostile relationship with Washington, such as
North Korea, Iran and Syria. Others, such as Somalia and Yemen, are considered
hotbeds of Islamic militant activity.
of the nations have yet to officially react to the court’s decision on the ban,
which has been fully in place since December, when the justices put the brakes
on lower court decisions that had blocked part of it from being enforced.
Syrian government considers itself at war with the United States and labels the
presence of about 2,000 U.S. troops in the country as an occupying force.
Diplomatic ties were cut in 2012, at the onset of the civil war. Syria has been
listed as a state sponsoring terrorism, with economic sanctions imposed on
Syrians and Syrian entities.
criticize Washington for restricting entry to Syrians fleeing a conflict in
which the U.S. has had a role. The U.S. has led an international coalition
fighting Islamic State militants in Syria and Iraq.
than 6 million Syrians have fled their homeland, with most settling in nearby
countries. In principle, the latest version of the U.S. travel ban does not
affect the potential resettlement of refugees to the U.S., including from the
countries targeted by the travel ban. However, previous Trump administration
restrictions on entry did affect Syrian refugees, leading to a backlog of cases
at a time when the U.S. lowered the cap on refugee admissions.
Hassan Rouhani indirectly condemned the travel ban Wednesday, saying the
actions of a president who “oppresses the entire Muslim world” will not remain
without a response. Many in Iran blame President Donald Trump’s decision to
pull America from the nuclear deal for their worsening economy.
the 1979 Islamic Revolution and U.S. Embassy takeover in Tehran, Iranians have
been forced to travel to another country to apply for U.S. visas. Many come
through nearby Dubai, United Arab Emirates, where the U.S. Consulate has a
special listening post for Iran. Others travel to U.S. diplomatic posts in
Armenia and Turkey. The travel ban has forced some Iranian students in the U.S.
to stay there for fear of being unable to return. For those in Iran, they’ve
been blocked from traveling to visit relatives in the U.S.
Arab world’s poorest nation has long been considered a haven for militants
linked to the al-Qaida terrorist network. Since 2015, a Saudi-led coalition
backing Yemen’s internationally recognized government has waged an all-out
campaign against Iranian-backed Houthi rebels, trying to dislodge them from the
northern region. Two million people have been displaced, more than 10,000 have
been killed and Yemen has been pushed to the brink of famine.
44,000 Yemeni-Americans live in the U.S., according to the U.S.-based Center
for Constitutional Rights. When the U.S. Embassy in the capital of Sanaa closed
after the outbreak of war, Yemenis had to go to other countries to apply for
fell into chaos following the 2011 uprising that toppled and later killed
strongman Moammar Gadhafi, who had ruled for more than four decades.
then, the North African country has emerged as a major transit point to Europe
for those fleeing poverty and civil war in Africa. Libyan authorities have
recently increased efforts to stem the flow of migrants, with European
al-Qaida-linked group, al-Shabab, has been staging attacks in Somalia for years.
A suicide bombing in the capital of Mogadishu in October killed more than 500
140,000 and 170,000 Somalis — U.S. citizens and refugees — live in the United
States, according to Somali officials. Many in the Horn of Africa nation would
like to join their relatives in the U.S. to escape the violence and chaos.
Abdullahi said she felt devastated after the Supreme Court ruling, her hopes
dashed that she could join her husband in Virginia. She said she and her sons,
ages 6 and 8, had planned to go to neighboring Ethiopia where their U.S. travel
plans were to have been processed. Now, Abdullahi said, “all our future plans
are doomed to failure.”
Korea is still basking in the glow of leader Kim Jong Un’s historic meeting
with Trump earlier this month.
Singapore summit was front-page news in the North’s government-controlled
newspapers. The North has toned down its anti-U.S. rhetoric recently as it
worked to ease tensions with Washington and neighboring South Korea.
U.S. travel ban had little impact on North Koreans. More painful was a U.S.
executive order last year that barred all Americans from nonessential travel in
the other direction. That cut off a small but lucrative flow of American
tourists to the North. ___
Nicolas Maduro has been feuding with Washington for years, and last month
expelled the top U.S. diplomat for allegedly conspiring with his opponents to
oust him. Dozens of Venezuelan officials already had been barred from entering
the U.S. under several rounds of targeted sanctions.
unclear how disruptive the new restrictions might be. In theory, they apply
only to a narrow category of government officials and their relatives who are
deemed responsible for failing to cooperate in vetting citizens considered a
national security threat.
the travel ban also calls for more scrutiny of all Venezuelans applying for
U.S. visas, prompting concerns about a stigmatization of the country at a time
when hundreds of thousands are fleeing widespread shortages and hyperinflation.
June 28, 2018
York, Jun 28 (AP) US authorities are taking the unusual step of seeking
leniency for a Bangladeshi immigrant who admitted going to Syria to support the
Islamic State group, saying he deserves credit for having a change of heart and
giving the FBI timely intelligence about terror threats.
New York City man, identified only as “John Doe” out of fears of retribution,
wept on Wednesday at a sentencing in federal court where he called himself “an
idiot” for supporting the militant group he says quickly disillusioned him.
made the greatest mistake of my life,” the 29-year-old man told U.S. District
Judge Jack Weinstein. “I was stupid and lost, and found myself in deep danger.”
The judge put off until Thursday a decision whether to throw him in prison or
put him under supervised release.
prosecutors in Brooklyn have sought lengthy sentences in several cases
involving radicalized, would-be Islamic State recruits who were thwarted before
they could either fight for the group overseas or plot an attack on US soil.
The man’s case differs because he succeeded in joining IS for several months in
2014 and gaining access to inside information as the group was trying to
establish a self-styled “caliphate” that posed a threat to the US at home and
began talking “within hours” of sneaking away from an IS camp in Syria, making
him “uniquely situated to inform the government of (the group’s) strategies,
tactics, techniques, procedures, personnel and logistical operations,”
prosecutors said. Once back in the US, he secretly pleaded guilty to providing
material support to a terrorist organization as part of a cooperation
of the man’s odyssey had been officially kept under wraps until this week, when
prosecutors unsealed court papers in advance of the sentencing.
papers say the man had an uneventful upbringing in a Muslim household but grew
despondent when his pregnant sister died from a sudden illness. He eventually
became immersed in Islam and dropped out of college.
guess it was his way of mourning,” his sister said in court without disclosing
his name. “He was withdrawn. . We stopped speaking.” His online consumption of
IS propaganda was flagged by the FBI, which warned him not to pursue a
relationship with extremists, the papers say. Instead, he travelled to Turkey
and, using social media for guidance, made his way into IS-controlled
disappeared one morning and we had no idea where he went,” the sister said.
he was “confronted with the brutality of the organization and its dubious
religious pronouncements, which were not consistent with the defendant’s
understanding of his faith,” court papers say.
man avoided battle duty by convincing his recruiters he had technical skills
that “he had only seen in movies,” the papers say. So he instead was given
logistical and support roles until he secretly sent a message to the FBI
offering his help, then risked crossing the Syrian border with IS documents.
he had been discovered, he would have been summarily executed,” his attorney,
Gary Villanueva said in court.
with his cooperation, authorities have credited the man with participating in a
private intervention “with a young man who was being led astray” by IS propaganda.
He also helped in the development of a community terrorism prevention program,
Wednesday, he told the judge he had earned a finance degree from a public
university while under protective custody. At the same time he’s “keeping a low
profile for the safety of myself and my family,” he said.
Supreme Court Judge, Sonia Sotomayor, who was on the panel of judges that
upheld President Trump’s so-called Muslim travel ban , on Tuesday criticized
her follow colleagues for setting aside comments against Muslims made by the
then candidate Trump while deciding the case.
a 5-4 ruling, the Supreme Court bench handed over President Trump one of his
biggest victories since taking charge of the White House in January last year,
by upholding his executive order that sought ban on travelling from five
Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States.
Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts, writing in the court’s opinion stated
that the President had the authority to suspend the entry of people into the
United States to protect the national interest.
in her scathing dissent, Judge Sotomayor said that the court’s majority
accepted the government’s invitation to set aside comments by President Trump
he made against the Muslims, a news report said.
to his statement of calling for a total and complete shutdown of Muslims
entering the United States, she said that “…this new window dressing cannot
conceal an unassailable fact: the words of the President and his advisers
create the strong perception that the Proclamation is contaminated by
impermissible discriminatory animus against Islam and its followers.”
explained that how President Trump pledged during his election campaign to ban
Muslims, which the then enforced through an executive order following his
assumption of office after a stunning victory against rival Democrat and former
First Lady Hillary Clinton. Judge Sotomayor said that President Trump has never
disavowed any of his prior statements about Islam.
executive orders on the subject were challenged by the state of Hawaii and
other states which said that the Trump’s anti-Muslim comments showed that his
policy was rooted in an animus toward Muslim people.
the ban, nationals from five majority Muslim countries, Iran, Libya, Syria,
Somalia and Yemen, cannot travel to the United States. Chad was among the
original list of countries but was dropped in April.
a statement issued after the verdict, President Trump declared the Supreme
Court judgement a “profound vindication” and said he would continue to defend
the “sovereignty, safety and security of the American people and fight for an
immigration system that serves the national interest of the United States and
United States urged fellow UN Security Council members on Wednesday to punish
Iran for “malign behavior” in the Middle East, at a meeting on implementation
of the 2015 nuclear deal with Tehran.
confronted with a country that continually violates this council’s resolutions,
it is imperative that we pursue meaningful consequences,” said Jonathan Cohen,
the US deputy ambassador to the United Nations.
is why we urge members of this Council to join us in the imposition of
sanctions that target Iran’s malign behavior in the region,” he stressed.
was the first meeting of the Security Council since US President Donald Trump
announced on May 8 that the United States was withdrawing from the nuclear
agreement with Tehran.
May 24, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) concluded for the
eleventh time Tehran had met its commitments.
supplying missiles to Houthi militias
his remarks, Cohen once again accused Iran of supplying missiles to the Houthi
militias in Yemen in violation of an international arms embargo.
group of Muslim American opinion leaders visiting Turkey expressed satisfaction
at the results of Sunday's presidential and parliamentarian elections.
the auspices of Turkey’s Directorate of Religious Affairs, a group of Muslim
American opinion leaders and reverends paid a week-long visit to Turkey,
starting on Sunday.
Recep Tayyip Erdogan won an absolute majority in the presidential election with
52.5 percent of the vote, while his closest rival lagged behind at 30.6
believe that him [Erdogan] and his party coming to the power again will bring a
better future for Turkey,” Naiim Baig, director of Dar Al-Hijrah Islamic Center
in Virginia, said.
praised Erdogan’s “courage” for adopting a leading stance on Muslim issues.
are, unfortunately, not many Muslim leaders who have the courage to take a
stand for global Muslims and their issues,” he added.
Noah from Ohio state said he danced and even shed tears of joy when the results
election was so important for us because Turkish government is the voice of the
voiceless,” Noah said, praising Turkey’s humanitarian support for the Muslim
underlines US role in eliminating Fazlullah
US Defence Secretary James Mattis has underlined the role that American forces
played in removing Pakistan’s most wanted terrorist, as Washington sends a
senior envoy to Islamabad for peace talks.
forces engaged against the terrorists basically killed Fazlullah, the head of
the Pakistan Taliban (TTP),” said Mr Mattis while talking to Pentagon
journalists in Alaska.
is a rare confirmation of a terrorist’s elimination by a senior US official and
comes amid renewed efforts for restoring peace in Afghanistan where the United
States has been engaged in an apparently unending military campaign since 2001.
US officials do not talk about targeted attacks, particularly when it involves
a drone, as it was a US drone that killed Fazlullah. While the US continues to
use drones to eliminate terrorists, it prefers not to confirm or deny such
attacks. Senior US officials are particularly careful because it’s often
difficult to confirm the kill.
Mattis, however, not only confirmed Fazlullah’s elimination but also explained
why it was important to do so. Diplomatic observers in Washington see this as a
reminder to Pakistan that the US did them a favour by removing their most
wanted terrorist. Now, they need to return the favour by cooperating with the
United States in its efforts to jumpstart the Afghan peace talks.
Trump administration is sending a senior envoy — Principal Deputy Assistant
Secretary of State Alice G. Wells — to Islamabad next week to explore the
possibility of a permanent peace in Afghanistan.
transcript released by his office on Wednesday shows Mr Mattis identifying
Fazlullah as a terrorist leader “well known” for ordering the 2014 Peshawar
Dec 16, 2014, six TTP gunmen attacked the Army Public School in Peshawar and
killed 149 people, including 132 schoolchildren. It was the world’s fourth
deadliest school massacre.
Mattis noted that Fazlullah’s men killed the “school-going children and
teachers” and unleashed a reign of terror in Swat.
been to Swat … one of the most stunningly beautiful places you’ll ever go on
earth, I’ll tell you.
you’ve — for those of you who ever get there, for a good trekking opportunity,”
said the US defence secretary while explaining how Fazlullah turned a heaven
into a hell.
his reign was known until the Pakistan military threw him out, for the
beheadings he was able to carry out there to impose his will, which didn’t last
long but was certainly murderous while he was there.”
- Britain’s Prince William found himself on diplomatic thin ice during a visit
to the Israeli-occupied West Bank on Wednesday when he called the Palestinian
territories a “country”.
with Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas in Ramallah, the prince appeared to
fall foul of the complex language surrounding the Middle East conflict.
you for welcoming me, and I am very glad that our two countries work so closely
together and have had success stories with education and relief work in the
past,” he told Abbas, speaking without notes. Western countries typically
refrain from referring to the Palestinian territories as a country or state,
instead supporting the Palestinian demand for sovereignty in the future - the
so-called two-state solution.
while Palestine has observer status at the United Nations, it is not a fully
recognised member state.
Likud party of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who the prince met in
Jerusalem on Tuesday, rejects Palestinian statehood and supports Jewish
settlement in the Israeli-occupied West Bank , where Abbas’s Palestinian
Authority is based. Israel’s coalition government, considered the most
right-wing in the country’s history, includes ministers who have voiced support
for annexing the West Bank .
a statement, the British foreign office did not comment directly on the
Prince’s words but said “the UK government supports the creation of a
sovereign, independent and viable Palestinian state - living in peace and
security, side by side with Israel.” “The UK will recognise a Palestinian state
at a time when it can best help to bring about peace.”
in Jerusalem the prince gave a speech in which he called for peace and told the
Palestinians they had “not been forgotten”.
said during the visit to Jalazone refugee camp near Ramallah he had seen “the
tremendous hardships faced by refugees and I can only imagine the difficulties
of life lived under these conditions, the limited resources and the lack of
message tonight is that you have not been forgotten.”
prince said he had been “struck by how many people in the region want a just and
lasting peace. This is only too evident among the young people I have met who
long for a new chapter to be written in the history of this region.”
in Ramallah the Prince met with refugees and attended a cultural event in which
he watched traditional Palestinian dancing.
drank coffee and sampled some traditional Palestinian food before watching and
briefly joining in football with Palestinian children.
a light jacket, jeans and blue shirt, he took four shots against a young
goalkeeper, who saved the first three but let in the fourth, an AFP
mayor of Ramallah Mousa Hadeel told AFP he wanted to help the prince learn
about the history of the Palestinians.
message is also one of love to Prince William and to the whole world and that
this country needs peace so that this people can live,” he said.
trip, the first by a senior British royal to both Israel and the Palestinian
territories, comes at a particularly sensitive time after US President Donald
Trump recognised Jerusalem as capital of Israel.
US move outraged Palestinians and sparked deadly clashes on the border with
Thursday, the prince is to complete his stay by visiting historical and
religious sites in east Jerusalem.
back to an independent Palestine, Abbas tells Prince William
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas welcomed Britain’s Prince William to
Palestine and affirmed his full commitment to achieving a just and lasting
peace with Israel.
Duke of Cambridge visited a refugee camp, inaugurated a musical fountain, and
enjoyed music and Palestinian cuisine.
told the visiting prince that Palestinians are serious about making peace with
Israel. “We want to reach peace through negotiations. This is our position
which has not changed in a long time,” he told the Duke of Cambridge, who is on
his first official visit to Palestine, during their meeting at the presidential
headquarters in Ramallah.
hope that your next visit will be in the state of Palestine when we have our
full independence,” Abbas added.
said the prince’s visit will deepen and strengthen the friendly ties between
the Palestinian and British people.
are always in need of the support of the British people for our just
Palestinian cause,” he said.
also mentioned the recent financial aid provided by the British government to
support the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA), saying
it was an important gesture.
Anderson, director of UNRWA field operations in the West Bank, told Arab News
that he was happy to take the British prince to the Jalazoun refugee camp
outside Ramallah. “He visited a health center and a girls school, and he
interacted with mothers and children.”
called it a “positive visit” and said that the prince was engaged throughout,
asking many of the teenagers “what they wanted to do when they grow up.”
Abu Laban, the Ramallah city manager, said that the prince met with city’s
mayor and council and other Palestinian leaders.
were proud to host the prince after his meeting with President Abbas,” the
William took part in a ceremony to open Ramallah’s first musical fountain. Abu
Laban said that after the official meetings, speeches and musical presentation,
the British royal enjoyed Palestinian cuisine.
walked around our food fair enjoying falafel and kenafeh sweets, and engaging
with the local community. He seemed excited and happy with the visit.”
Duke of Cambridge visited the local Friends school and met Jibril Rajoub, head
of the Palestinian Football Association, and members of the Palestinian
national team as well as young footballers.
was the first time since 1800 for such a royal British visit,” Abu Laban said.
though the royal palace doesn’t deal with politics, we are happy he referred to
our future capital as the occupied city of Jerusalem.”
the British prince steered away from politics, David Stansbury, from the
British Consulate General in Jerusalem, told a Palestinian radio station that
the UK supports the two-state solution on the 1967 borders, with Jerusalem as
capital to both countries.
was adamant that the UK had no plans to move its embassy from Tel Aviv to
President Tayyip Erdogan and his government alliance partner have agreed not to
extend emergency rule when the current three-month period expires in July, the
pro-government Sabah newspaper said on Thursday.
state of emergency has been in place since after an attempted coup in July 2016
and has been extended every three months since then. Erdogan said this month it
would be lifted if he won the June 24 elections.
won 53 percent of the vote in Sunday’s presidential vote, extending his rule
until at least 2023 - but now with the sweeping executive powers that Turks
narrowly backed in a referendum last year.
and his alliance partner, the national MHP leader Devlet Bahceli, held a
meeting on Wednesday afternoon. Sources have said Erdogan could give the MHP
cabinet posts, rewarding their support for his AK Party in parliament.
the talks, agreement was reached not to extend the state of emergency,” the
Sabah newspaper said without providing details. It did not specify the source
of its report.
least seven civilians have been killed when Saudi military aircraft carried out
an airstrike against a residential area in Yemen’s western coastal province of
Hudaydah as the Riyadh regime presses ahead with its atrocious bombardment
campaign against its southern neighbor.
fighter jets conducted the aerial assault against al-Rabasah area in the
al-Hawak district of the province, located 150 kilometers southwest of the
capital Sana'a, on Wednesday evening, leaving seven people dead and four others
injured, unnamed local sources told Yemen’s Arabic-language al-Masirah television
in the day, Yemeni army forces, supported by allied fighters from Popular
Committees, fired a domestically-designed and -manufactured Qaher M-2 (Subduer
M-2) ballistic missile at a position of Saudi-sponsored militiamen loyal to Yemen's
former president Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi in Hudaydah, killing and injuring
scores of the Saudi mercenaries.
Saudi warplanes targeted an area in the Kitaf wa al-Boqe'e district of the
northwestern mountainous province of Sa’ada, though there were no immediate
reports of casualties.
military aircraft also launched three airstrikes in the al-Buga district of the
same Yemeni province, with no reports of fatalities and extent of damage caused
many residential buildings suffered heavy damage when a salvo of projectiles
fired by Saudi artillery units rained downed on an area in the Monabbih
district of Sa’ada province.
Yemeni Ministry of Human Rights announced in a statement on March 25 that the
Saudi-led war had left 600,000 civilians dead and injured since March 2015.
United Nations says a record 22.2 million Yemenis are in need of food aid,
including 8.4 million threatened by severe hunger.
high-ranking UN aid official recently warned against the “catastrophic” living
conditions in Yemen, stating that there was a growing risk of famine and
on Wednesday slammed the European Union as "hypocritical" and
"prejudiced" after the bloc said Ankara was moving further away from
Europe, just days after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan won a new term.
ministers on Tuesday said Turkey's long-stalled accession negotiations -- which
began officially in 2005 -- had "effectively come to a standstill."
EU European affairs ministers meeting in Luxembourg added that Turkey was
"moving further away from the European Union."
again it is shown how the EU does not treat Turkey fairly or sincerely,"
the Turkish foreign ministry responded in a statement, describing the
ministers' conclusions as "hypocritical and incoherent."
added that the ministers' statement also reflected the "prejudiced and
unjust attitude" against Turkey.
EU Affairs Minister Omer Celik said on Twitter the conclusions showed that the
EU was "confused," with statements that "lacked vision" and
were "full of contradictions."
between Turkey and the EU have been strained for several years but especially
so since the July 2016 attempted coup, with Ankara accusing Brussels of being
unsupportive of the multiple terror threats Turkey faces.
EU has also often criticized the crackdown and the attacks on freedom of speech
which followed the failed putsch, in which tens of thousands of people have
been arrested including journalists.
EU and Turkey had agreed a deal in March 2016 worth billions of euros in which
Turkey would take back migrants in exchange for visa liberalization, which has
yet to be introduced for Turks.
said that the EU's latest comments amounted to saying "that it will not
honor its commitments of the 18 March statement."
aim in particular at Austria's conservative government, Celik said it was
"tragi-comic" that the EU made such comments when it was "held
captive by members where the far-right is ruling."
EU has reacted coolly to Erdogan's decisive victory in Sunday's parliamentary
and presidential elections, which will give him sweeping new powers.
prosecutors have issued arrest warrants for nearly 100 people on suspicion of
affiliation to a movement led by US-based opposition cleric Fethullah Gulen,
whom the Ankara government accuses of having masterminded the July 2016 coup
attempt against President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Chief Prosecutor's Office in the capital Ankara issued the warrants for 99
people, including an air commodore and 30 former pilots from the Turkish Air
Force Command, on Wednesday.
Turkish police forces have launched simultaneous operations across 13 provinces
to arrest 22 Gulen suspects.
the botched putsch, a faction of the Turkish military declared that it had
seized control of the country and the government of Erdogan was no more in
charge. The attempt was, however, suppressed a few hours later.
has since accused Gulen of having orchestrated the coup. The opposition figure
is also accused of being behind a long-running campaign to topple the
government via infiltrating the country’s institutions, particularly the army,
police and the judiciary.
has denounced the “despicable putsch” and reiterated that he had no role in it.
against me related to the coup attempt are baseless and politically-motivated
slanders,” he said in a statement.
77-year-old cleric has also called on Ankara to end its “witch hunt” of his
followers, a move he says is aimed at “weeding out anyone it deems disloyal to
President Erdogan and his regime.”
officials have frequently called on their US counterparts to extradite Gulen,
but their demands have not been taken heed of.
which remains in a state of emergency since the coup, has been engaged in
suppressing the media and opposition groups suspected to have played a role in
the failed coup.
of thousands of people have been arrested in Turkey on suspicion of having
links to Gulen and the failed coup. More than 110,000 others, including
military staff, civil servants and journalists, have been sacked or suspended
from work over the same accusations.
JeM used children in Kashmir during clashes with forces: UNSG report
banned terror outfits Jaish-e-Mohammed and Hizbul Mujahideen recruited and used
children in Jammu and Kashmir during clashes with security forces last year,
according to a UN report released on Thursday.
annual report of the UN Secretary General on Children and Armed Conflict,
covering the January-December 2017 period, said globally, over 10,000 children
were killed or maimed in conflict last year while more than 8,000 were
recruited or used as combatants.
report covers 20 countries, including war-torn Syria, Afghanistan, and Yemen
and also the situation in India, the Philippines and Nigeria.
the situation in India, the report of UNSG Antonio Guterres said children
continued to be affected by incidents of violence between armed groups and the
government forces, particularly in Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and during tensions
in Jammu and Kashmir.
“grave violations”, it said three incidents of recruitment and use of children
by the two terror outfits were reported in Jammu and Kashmir during clashes
with the security forces.
case was attributed to Jaish-e-Mohammed and two to Hizbul Mujahideen,” the
report said, adding that “unverified” reports also indicate the use of children
as informants and spies by the security forces.
UN said it continued to receive reports of recruitment and use of children,
including by the Naxalites, particularly in Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand.
“Naxalites reportedly resorted to the use of a lottery system to conscript
children in Jharkhand,” it said, adding children continued to be killed and
injured during operations of security forces against armed groups.
government data, the report said 188 civilians were killed in Naxal-affected
regions, but no disaggregated data on children were available.
March this year, a 15-year-old boy was killed during clash between the security
forces and Lashkar-e-Taiba terrorists in Padgampora village of Pulwama
asked the Indian government to put in place measures to hold perpetrators of
child recruitment and use to account and engage with the UN to end and prevent
violations against children.
Jharkhand, the report said, suspected Naxalites attacked a school in Khunti
district, partially destroying it. With regard to military use, the occupation
of over 20 schools was documented by the Central Reserve Police Force in
Srinagar, Kashmir, in April.
tensions in Jammu and Kashmir reportedly also led to closure of school for
varying periods, including in Rajouri (65) and Poonch (76) districts,” it said.
DELHI: J&K Police on Wednesday identified three terrorists responsible for
the killing of journalist Shujaat Bukhari who was shot dead by terrorists
outside his office in Srinagar earlier this month. Two of the terrorists are
locals, while the third is a Pakistani national, the police said.
Pakistani national was identified as Lashkar-e-Taiba commander Naveed Jatt who
managed to escape from police custody earlier this year from the Shri Maharaja
Hari Singh (SMHS) hospital in Srinagar.
two locals are believed to be from one of the villages in south Kashmir. Police
were trying to corroborate the evidence from the ground, they said.
details about the plans to kill Bukhari surfaced during an investigation in one
of the recent encounters at Kulgam during which police officials got evidence
to suggest that Jatt was in the middle of the motorcycle on which three
terrorists were seen on the CCTV footage minutes before gunning down the
journalist on June 14, they said.
said a Pakistan-based blogger, a resident of Srinagar and now settled there,
has also been identified. The blogger had started a hate campaign against
Bukhari after he had attended Dubai conference last year.
police has accused Lashker-e-Taiba for killing Bukhari, the terror outfit has
journalist and Rising Kashmir editor Bukhari and his PSOs were shot dead by
unidentified gunmen outside the newspaper's office in the heart of this Jammu
and Kashmir summer capital on June 14.
earlier arrested a local who had escaped with a pistol belonging to one of
Bukhari's guards and two mobile phones belonging to the journalist.
appears to be a drug addict. He is still in our custody but he does not appear
to be part of the terror conspiracy to assassinate Bukhari," the source
have also identified a blogger who uploaded malicious posts against Bukhari.
the first time since India announced that it had conducted surgical strikes
against terror launch pads in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) in September
2016, video clips of these operations were broadcast on several television news
channels on Wednesday night.
clips showed some terrorists being killed, besides destruction of bunkers and
other military constructions. TV channels claimed these videos, which they had
accessed from official sources, were taken by Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs)
and Thermal Imaging (TI) cameras used by the Army to monitor the operation.
videos are real. I can confirm that,” Lt General D S Hooda (retd), former
Northern Army Commander who was directly in-charge of the surgical strikes told
The Indian Express. The feed of these videos was reportedly being broadcast
live during the surgical strikes to the operations room of his headquarters in
the surgical strikes happened, my view was that the videos should have been
released as proof. It is good that they have come out now,” Lt General Hooda
the intervening night of September 28-29, 2016, the Army had carried out surgical
strikes on seven terror launch pads across the Line of Control (LoC) in PoK.
The then DGMO, Lt General Ranbir Singh, had announced on September 29, 2016
that India had conducted surgical strikes on terror pads along the LoC using
ground forces, inflicting “significant casualties” on terrorists.
officers and men of the Army’s 4 and 9 Special Forces battalions, who had taken
part in the surgical strikes, were later awarded gallantry medals by the
government. The operation also featured in a documentary broadcast on History18
channel, which also featured NSA Ajit Doval.
October 7, 2016, The Indian Express had reported graphic accounts provided by
eyewitnesses living across the LoC of the surgical strikes, describing how
bodies of those killed before dawn on September 29 were loaded onto trucks for
secret burials. The eyewitnesses also described brief but intense fire
engagements that destroyed makeshift buildings that housed terrorists, before
they left for the last stage of their journeys across the LoC.
Special Police Officer in Pampore escaped with his service rifle and joined
militants ranks on Wednesday. Hizbul Mujahideen has confirmed that the
policeman has joined the outfit, asking other police personnel to follow his
Ahmad Dar was the Personal Security Officer (PSO) of the Pampore Station House
after his escape, Hizbul Mujahideen confirmed that Dar has joined them. “SPO
Irfan Ahmad Dar who fled with rifle has joined Hizbul Mujahideen,” Hizb
spokesman Burhan-ud-din said in a statement to a local news agency in Srinagar.
“We appeal to all the Jammu and Kashmir police cadres to give up their job and
join Hizbul Mujahideen to give a push to the resistance struggle.”
was a resident of Nehama area of Kakapora block in south Kashmir’s Pulwama
police personnel have deserted their units and joined militant ranks over the
last two years. In 2016, Naseer Ahmad Pandit was the first policeman to join
Hizbul Mujahideen. He was the PSO of then Roads and Buildings Minister Altaf
Bukhari and escaped with two rifles from his Srinagar residence.
Naveed from Shopian escaped from Budgam last year and has risen to the top
ranks of the Hizbul Mujahideen. Ishfaq Ahmad Dar from Shopian joined the
Lashkar-e-Toiba last year.
Army men have also joined militant ranks.
India’s education sector is growing at a good pace but access to quality
education still remains a distant dream for rural India which is deprived of
good primary education. I would like to work in this direction when my dream of
becoming an IAS officer is realized,” beamed Mohammad Kaif Mulla.
was among the three toppers in SSLC examinations (Xth grade) who scored 100
percent marks – notching 625 out of 625.
who just got enrolled at the KLE Society’s Raja Lakhamagouda Science Institute,
Belagavi (Karnataka) in pre-university science stream, emphasizes the need to
make sustainable development, poverty-free society and improve the standards of
life to abolish child labor. He intends to go for medicine and then pursue
scoring full marks in all subjects in the SSLC examinations, except science,
Kaif, who studied in St Xavier High School, Belagavi, applied for revaluation.
He was extremely convinced that the one mark, which he missed out was his. Kaif
was hundred percent sure of getting full marks.
met my teachers and checked my answers with notebooks and I was convinced that
I had all the science questions answered perfectly. And so, I applied for
revaluation,” Kaif said.
Karnataka Secondary Education Examination Board (KSEEB) then declared that Kaif
had scored 100 percent marks in all subjects including sciences. The KSEEB
conducted the Karnataka Class 10 examination 2018 from March 23 to April 8 2018
the results of which were declared last month.
it to the top competing with a massive 850,000 students is not a mean
achievement for this boy whose parents were both teachers when he was in grade
mother is now an officer at the Block Education Office in Belagavi city while
his father, Haroon Rasheed Mulla, continues to teach Hindi at a government high
school in Kittur. This topper did not let textbooks rule his lives. He gave
extracurricular activities the required importance.
Kaif was regular in studies but that did not deter him from partaking in sports
and extra-curricular activities. Singing is his passion while he enjoys sports
like short put, discus throw and javelin throw.
has also been a commander of his school’s NCC unit. His proud father said that
keeping away from social media also helped him to concentrate on his academics.
A clear message to the students these days. Kaif said that his parents and
teachers always motivated him to work hard and perform well.
extra-ordinary accomplishment has made him famous instantly with NGOs and
others felicitating him but his simplicity and a vision to help promote
education to end child labor have won him further accolades.
asked what is his advice to students to emulate his success, Kaif avers:
“Everyone can score well if they follow four values in life – courage,
determination, inspiration and desire. Then success will be at their feet.”
temple issue likely to be discussed at All India Muslim Personal Law Board meet
on 15 July in Lucknow
The Ayodhya issue may come up for discussion at the executive meeting of the
All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) in Lucknow on 15 July.
meeting comes against the backdrop of statements by some leaders favouring
construction of the Ram Temple in Ayodhya.
executive meeting of 41 members of the board will be held in the Islamic
seminary Nadwa in Lucknow on 15 July. After recent statements on the sensitive
Ayodhya dispute, it might be discussed in the meeting," board member
Maulana Khalid Rashid Farangi Mahali told PTI.
on the Ayodhya issue are coming. Some are saying the decision will come in a
particular month and it will be in favour of a particular side. Such statements
are an attempt to belittle the highest court. This should be taken into
consideration. It might be discussed in the meeting," he said.
said the Board has already said it would accept the decision of the Supreme
Court on the issue.
at a programme in Ayodhya, Ram Janmbhoomi Trust member Ram Vilas Vedanti had
said in the presence of Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath that "If the
Supreme Court decision on the matter comes before 2019 its okay otherwise
construction of Ram Temple will be started in Ayodhya."
Vishwa Hindu Parishad has also indicated that it may restart its movement for
Ram Temple in Ayodhya, saying the organisation will consult saints on the
"future course of action" if the Supreme Court does not give its
verdict on the issue in next three to four months.
Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP) leader Praveen Togadia also said that if
construction of the temple did not start within four months, he would march
towards Ayodhya from Lucknow in October.
the Board meeting, the matter of apprising lawyers about Sharia laws will also
be discussed. "This will help in matter related to Muslim personal law in
courts," Mahali said.
DELHI: Moving further in its investigation into J&K terror funding case
involving Hurriyat leaders, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Tuesday
questioned Gurgaon-based accountant of arrested Kashmiri businessman Zahoor
Ahmad Shah Watali regarding illegal funds brought by the latter from Dubai
supposedly for his construction business in India but channelled for terrorist
and separatist activities in Kashmir.
Ahmed Mir, cost accountant and proprietor of M/s Wiz Kid Consultancy and
Financial Services Pvt Ltd with offices at Srinagar and Gurgaon, was questioned
at NIA headquarters here on the operation of Watali’s business, particularly
illegal receipt of money from abroad, its distribution to various actors in
terror finance machinery and laundering of illegally received money. NIA is
working on establishing the terror funding trail to some senior Hurriyat
leaders and may summon them for questioning in the coming days.
during searches at various premises of Mushtaq, NIA seized financial documents
including balance sheets and audit reports of Watali’s firms.
named as an accused in the chargesheet filed by NIA this January, worked as a
hawala conduit across West Asian countries. NIA sources said the businessman
was part of a cleverly organised financial conspiracy which enabled him to
bring unaccounted funds to the tune of Rs 10-12 crore raised from unknown
sources in Dubai between 2012 and 2016. The modus operandi was to enter into
‘paper agreements’ with associates claiming that the ‘investments’ were meant
for his businesses in India, receipt of funds by hawala route or NRE account
and their diversion to finance terror activities in J&K.
sources said terror funds were disbursed through cash withdrawals from nearly
48-50 bank accounts belonging to Watali, his kith and kin, firms and
associates. Earlier, when Watali was questioned by NIA sleuths regarding these
suspicious financial transactions and diversion of funds involving his firms,
he could not come up with satisfactory explanation and told them to speak to
his accountant and auditors instead.
Mushtaq and his company were involved in maintaining financial accounting of
all of firms of Watali and his associates, NIA summoned him to explain the
suspicious transactions. NIA has found a number of financial irregularities in
the Watali’s firms, including a large number of cash transactions. The
investigators suspect most firms are only a front for laundering funds meant
for terror activities and a probe into this aspect will also involve
DELHI: Army chief General Bipin Rawat on Wednesday stressed on exploiting cyber
space for advantage of defence forces, saying the "tech-savvy"
terrorists operating from across the borders are using it for their benefit and
if the armed forces don't stay ahead of them, they may never be able overcome
a conference on cyber security here, the Army Chief said the cyber space is
important not only in conventional warfare, but is equally relevant in the
sub-conventional warfare or proxy war.
must also develop niche capabilities to disable the adversaries' system. Today,
the terrorists operating against us from across the borders are very
tech-savvy. They are exploiting cyber space for their advantage. If we don't
stay ahead of them, we will never be able to get over the phenomena of
terrorism," Rawat said.
also noted that China is ramping up its capabilities in the cyber warfare.
the conference, Lt Gen Satish Dua, who is the Chief of Integrated Defence Staff
to the Chairman, Chiefs of Staff Committee (CISC), said there was a need to
tweak the defence strategy and factor in cyber threat.
is the most potent by-product of cyber warfare. Terrorist organisations have
moved their propaganda online," Dua said.
an example of Burhan Wani, whose killing in an encounter with the security
forces in July 2016 led to an unrest in the Kashmir Valley, Dua said the Hizbul
Mujahideen terrorist, was a creation of social media.
22-year-old Wani was a poster boy for militancy in the Valley.
overcome other inadequacies, they used this system (cyber space) very nicely.
Social media was used to build a Robinhood kind of image of Burhan Wani and
eventually when he was eliminated, we saw the kind of unrest in Kashmir, in the
Valley.... (it) was unprecedented a couple of years ago. And all started with
this creation of social media," Dua said.
Jamaat-i-Islami central chief and vice-president of Muttahida Majlis-i-Amal
Sirajul Haq has said the MMA would start even-handed accountability across the
country after coming to power.
to media persons here on Wednesday, he said no political party had really
worked for development and progress of country. He claimed that in the previous
MMA tenure they had struggled for implementation of Sharia in the country but
the federal government did not support their cause.
Haq said MMA would resolve the electricity loadshedding and unemployment
problems. He said during the PTI-led government, the JI had no powers.
said as Kalabagh Dam issue had become controversial other water reservoirs
should be built on a war-footing to meet water and energy needs of the country.
three persons, including two police officials, were arrested on Wednesday in
harassment case of a woman in Nowshera Cantonment. “The police officials
involved in the crime would be penalised as per the law,” DIG Mardan Akhtar
Hayat Gandapur told mediapersons.
woman, who is resident of Karachi, had reported to Nowshera Cantt police that
she was brought to a building in the cantonment by a man on pretext of
providing her a job. She alleged that she was forcibly stayed there for night
where two police officials and another man molested her.
said police took immediate action and arrested constables Shahswar and Yasir
Nadeemalong with Zahoor, a resident of Khat Kaly, who was selling fruit in
Nowshera Cantt, in the case.
on ASWJ lifted, Ludhianvi’s assets unfrozen
government on Wednesday ordered to unfreeze the assets of Maulana Ahmed
Ludhianvi and removed the ban placed on his movement – Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat
(ASWJ), reported a private media outlet.
to reports, National Counter-Terrorism Authority (NACTA) on Wednesday issued a
notification in this regard following the recommendations of Punjab’s home
is the chief of ASWJ – a proscribed sectarian extremist group, formerly known
as Sipah-e-Sahaba – and he became the head of ASWJ after the death of Ali Sher
Haidri in a 2009 ambush.
ASWJ chief, who is also the joint secretary of the Difa-e-Pakistan Council
(DPC), is now allowed to operate his bank accounts which were frozen on the
recommendation of the same department earlier.
a rather shocking development, Ludhianvi is also free to travel abroad
following the notification, and he has also been allowed to purchase and carry
arms after securing a licence from the competent authority.
CNIC has been unblocked as well.
to the media outlet, a high-powered review committee of the Punjab home
department occasionally reviews cases of people on the Fourth Schedule and
recommends lifting of the ban if it finds the conduct of a person satisfactory.
the decision was made the same day Pakistan had committed to an ambitious
26-point action plan spanning a period of 15 months to avoid being blacklisted
by the Financial Action Task Force.
placed on FATF 'grey list' despite diplomatic efforts to avert decision
Financial Action Task Force (FATF) on Wednesday officially placed Pakistan on
its grey list after a plenary meeting in Paris.
announcement was made late on Wednesday night. Despite Pakistan's diplomatic
efforts to avert the decision, the financial watchdog, in its meeting, argued
that Pakistan had failed to curb terror financing on its soil.
in the day, caretaker Finance Minister Dr Shamshad Akhtar had urged the FATF to
remove Pakistan from its grey list. As the FATF plenary began its proceedings,
the Pakistani delegation apprised the watchdog of steps Islamabad had taken to
weed out money laundering and terror financing.
a look: SECP issues anti-money laundering regulations in compliance with FATF recommendations
reports from Paris had indicated that Pakistan may get more time to take
measures to implement the FATF’s anti-money laundering and terrorist-financing
Foreign Office (FO) had confirmed in February that Pakistan would be placed on
FATF's grey list in June if it did not take measures to curb terror financing.
FO spokesperson Mohammad Faisal had assured that an action plan to eradicate
terrorist financing was being prepared and would accordingly be shared with the
will be assigned to the ‘grey list’ in June, once an action plan has been
mutually negotiated," the spokesman had said, adding that Pakistan will
cooperate with FATF in every possible way.
Alone at FATF
37-nation FATF plenary held its first meeting on Pakistan in February where
China, Turkey and Saudi Arabia opposed the United States-led move to place
Pakistan on the watchlist. But the US pushed for an unprecedented second
discussion on Pakistan, held on February 22.
then, Washington had convinced Riyadh to give up its support to Pakistan in
return for a full FATF membership. This left only two – China and Turkey – in
the Pakistan camp, one less than the required number of three members to stall
The Counter-Terrorism Department on Wednesday claimed to have arrested four
suspects, including a government doctor, for their alleged involvement in
helping and treating militants linked with the banned Tehreek-i-Taliban
SSP Junaid Ahmed Shaikh said that the police arrested Dr Abdul Rehman, an
orthopaedic surgeon at the Ruth Pfau Civil Hospital Karachi, and Mufti Malik
Rizwan in Gulshan-i-Iqbal when they were collecting donations in a mosque.
held suspects were generating funds for the banned TTP,” he claimed. “They had
got militancy training from Afghanistan.”
said Rehman was a qualified doctor and an “active” TTP worker. He had completed
his MBBS from a medical university in Bahawalpur and later he specialised in
has remained involved in secretly treating wounded terrorists and was arrested
after constant monitoring,” the SSP added.
Rehman originally hailed from Ghotki, where his father worked in a bank.
studied up to intermediate in his home town and later got admission in the
Quaid-i-Azam Medical College Bahawalpur where he completed his MBBS in 2001. He
specialised in orthopaedic surgery in 2015 from the College of Physicians and
Surgeons of Pakistan.
told interrogators that he developed friendship with a college student, Shah
Faisal, who was Jamaatud Dawa’s chief in his college. He started attending
religious programmes at the medical college and after completing his degree he
got “militancy training” on the insistence of Mr Faisal, claimed the SSP.
told the CTD that his parents were not aware of his activities. He did house
job at the Victoria Hospital in Bahawalpur. Subsequently, he passed the Sindh
Public Service Commission exam and was appointed as government doctor in
Khanpur in 2007.
specialisation, he was posted at the orthopaedic ward of the Dr Ruth Pfau Civil
disclosed that he used to “officially” visit the Karachi Central Prison after a
gap of two months for treatment of prisoners where in 2014 he met a TTP inmate,
Amin Shirin, who was suffering from backache.
developed friendship with him and “facilitated and provided logistics to
militants in the prison”, claimed SSP Junaid.
added that the police informed the hospital administration and the Sindh health
department about his activities before his arrest.
suspect Mufti Rizwan, the CTD SSP said that he originally belonged to Mansehra
and studied up to intermediate in Karachi. Later he studied at a famous
seminary and memorised Quran. He also completed courses for religious scholar
and mufti from the seminary in Karachi and started teaching.
told the interrogators that he developed friendship with a seminary student who
had links with the TTP in Orakzai Agency. He went there in 2009 and met with
the TTP leadership. He said he did not inform his family about the real purpose
of his visit.
2011, he went to South Waziristan for getting militancy training.
told the interrogators that his elder brother, Zafar Iqbal, was also associated
with the TTP and with his help he visited Afghanistan.
Rizwan informed the investigators that he remained the prayer leader at
different mosques in the city’s posh areas, including Defence and Karsaz.
the CTD arrested two suspects — Hameedullah and Inam Dad — in Machhar Colony
and recovered two pistols from them.
belong to the TTP’s Wali Mohammed group,” the CTD SSP said, adding that they
were planning an attack when they were arrested on spy information.
another action, the CTD arrested suspect Shafiquddin alias Kala, said to be
associated with the Mohajir Qaumi Movement-Haqiqi.
Interior Minister Azam Khan said on Wednesday that terrorism is the biggest
challenge in the upcoming General Elections 2018.
caretaker interior minister said that the possibility of terrorism cannot be
said that the decision to summon Pakistan Army to ensure security during the
elections was made by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP).
should have consulted the interior ministry on the decision, said the caretaker
further said that ECP is doing transfers on its own and the caretaker setup is
not aware of that.
to know about secretary interior minister’s transfer through newspaper today,”
said Azam Khan.
on the subject of ensuring security during the elections, Khan said that the
priority is to protect rallies of political parties and leaders.
informed on Tuesday, the National Counter Terrorism Authority (NACTA) summoned
a high-level meeting of the in-charges of the security institutions and
political parties, keeping in view possible terrorist threats ahead of General
Security forces on Thursday conducted an intelligence-based operation in
Balochistan’s city Sibi and according to Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR)
five suspected terrorists have been arrested.
and communication devices were recovered from the terrorists.
on June 19, an operation was conducted by Counter Terrorism Department (CTD),
with the help of intelligence agencies, which claimed the death of four
terrorists in Tera Meel area of Dasht, Balochistan.
Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chief Imran Khan on Wednesday night paid visit
to Dargah-e-Baba Fariduddin Ganjshakar to pay his respects.
along with his wife, Bushra Maneka offered prayers and placed the ritual
“Chaadhar” over Baba Fariduddin’s shrine.
chief was warmly received by by Dewan
Azmat Said Mohammad Chisti, PTI candidate for PP-192 constituency.
custodian of the shrine performed the traditional activities for his chief
guest and his wife during the visit.
army declares complete retake of Dayr al-Zawr desert
military has announced that it cleared the desert region of the country’s
eastern province of Dayr al-Zawr close to the border with Iraq of the last
elements of the Daesh Takfiri terrorist group.
General Command of the Syrian Army announced in a statement on Wednesday that
government troops, supported by military aircraft from the Syrian Air Forces,
had managed to expel the foreign-sponsored extremists from the area, and
establish control over an area of 5800 square kilometers after a series of
fierce battles fought by spirited and courageous army troopers, Syria’s official
news agency SANA reported.
statement added that the counter-terrorism operations inflicted heavy losses on
terrorist ranks and dealt severe blows to their military hardware.
the Iraqi border and crushing Daesh terrorist group in the desert region attest
to the great efficiency of the Syrian Army and the strong determination of the
General Command of the Army to pursue the remnants of terrorist groups until
security, stability and peace prevail, and the entire Syrian soil is liberated
from the menace of Takfiri terrorism,” it further noted.
has been gripped by foreign-backed militancy since March 2011. The Syrian
government says the Israeli regime and its Western and regional allies are
aiding Takfiri terrorist groups that are wreaking havoc in the country.
has been helping Syrian forces in an ongoing battle in the province of Dayr
al-Zawr as the Daesh terrorist group struggles to keep its last positions in
Russian military assistance, which began in September 2015 at the official
request of the Syrian government, has proved effective as the Syrians continue
to recapture key areas from Daesh and other terrorist groups across the country
with the backing of Russian air cover.
May 21, the General Command of the Syrian Army and Armed Forces announced in a
statement that complete security was restored to Damascus and its countryside
after al-Hajar al-Aswad district and al-Yarmouk camp had been totally purged of
development was preceded by flushing the Takfiris out of the towns of Yalda,
Babbila and Beit Sahem on the southern outskirts of Damascus.
least 10 people have been killed in double bombings that hit Syria’s
northwestern region of Afrin amid clashes between militant groups in the area.
so-called Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said one of the explosions struck
near Dowar Kawa al-Hadad in Afrin city center, while the other was reported
near a headquarters for Turkish forces on a road leading to a hospital.
March, the Turkish army and the so-called Free Syrian Army units, which are
backed by Ankara, established full control over Afrin after more than two
months of battles with the US-backed militants controlling Syria’s northern
began the so-called Operation Olive Branch against Afrin on January 20 to
cleanse the northern Syrian border of the US-backed Kurdish militants of the
People's Protection Units (YPG), whom it associates with the homegrown
Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) fighting for autonomy on Turkish soil.
observatory said at least four militants were among those killed in Wednesday's
bombings, adding that several people were seriously injured.
Britain-based monitoring group reported that militant groups based in Afrin had
earlier engaged in clashes after a dispute at a checkpoint.
RT Arabic quoted local sources as saying that militants from the so-called Free
Syrian Army factions of al-Mu'tasim Brigade and the Levant Front clashed early
on Wednesday on the distribution of booty stolen from Afrin industrial area.
Olive Branch in Afrin region is Turkey's second major military intervention in
Syria since 2011.
August 2016, Turkey began a unilateral military intervention in northern Syria,
code-named Operation Euphrates Shield, sending tanks and warplanes across the
border. Ankara claimed that its campaign was aimed at pushing the Daesh Takfiri
terrorist group from Turkey's border with Syria and stopping the advance of
Kurdish forces, who were themselves fighting Daesh.
businessman and philanthropist Abdul Aziz Al Ghurair has launched an education
fund worth $27 million to help finance the education of refugee children in the
fund, announced on the World Refugee Day, will benefit a minimum of 5,000
refugee children living in the UAE and it will run for three years. The new
fund comes after the UAE revealed that it will provide a one-year visa to
refugees from other Arab countries.
Abdul Aziz Al Ghurair Refugee Education Fund will reportedly support high
impact education programs at the secondary, tertiary and vocational levels for
refugee youth in Jordan and Lebanon.
grants will be provided through organizations working with refugee children
through a competitive selection process and not directly to individuals though.
The first round of grants to partner organizations in Jordan, Lebanon and the
UAE will be announced before the start of the new school year while the call
for the next proposals will be in 2019.
civil war and ensuing violence have seen millions flee the troubled areas of
Syria and Iraq over the last few years. Conflict has led about 5.6 million
people to flee from Syria alone while many more are displaced internally.
has taken a severe hit amidst the conflict with close to 2 million children out
of school, according to UNICEF.
Ghurair’s effort comes as many Arab billionaires have pledged their wealth to
educate and support Arab youth. In 2015, Abdullah Al Ghurair pledged to donate
one third of his wealth to provide quality education to over 15,000 Arab youth.
Well-known Saudi businessman Alwaleed bin Talal had also pledged to donate over
$32 billion to charity.
bomb-laden motorcycles went off at a base of the al-Shamiyeh Front near Qawa
square in Afrin.
the meantime, heavy infighting was reported between al-Shamiyeh Front and Liwa
al-Mo'atasem in a large area from Qawa square to the industrial zone and
blast hit Deir Sam Hospital. The hospital had halted operation after it came
under threat and was forced to shut down by the Turkish troops.
Turkey-backed militants have gone on alert immediately after the blasts.
reports said that at least 30 militants and civilians have been killed or
wounded in the explosions.
sources said on Sunday that the Ankara forces started closing off all the
streets across the town of Jandaris in Northeastern Aleppo.
sources pointed to anguish felt by the Turkish soldiers and their allied
militants over the Kurdish militias' surprise attack, adding that the Ankara
forces prefer not to wear military uniforms to avoid becoming the target of
sources further said that the Kurdish militias launched eight heavy offensives
against Turkish troops and their allied militants in the region in the past
the meantime, local sources in Rajou in Afrin reported that the Ankara forces
have plundered three power generators and telecommunication masts.
sources in the village of Ya'arab in Western Raqqa reported that SDF stormed
the village to take down and tear apart a large number of Syrian government
flags and images of President Bashar al-Assad at power towers.
SDF leadership in the region put fighters on alert and ordered to clean the
streets from flags and president's images.
the meantime, the wives of a number of gunmen of Liwa al-Thowar Raqqa who have
been captured by the SDF demonstrated in al-Romeileh neighborhood in Raqqa
city, and called on the SDF to release the detainees.
a relevant development on Tuesday, the SDF stormed bases and positions of Liwa
al-Thowar al-Raqqa in the Raqqa city and its outskirts and captured a sum of
the meantime, the SDF arrested tens of villagers in the villages of al-Adnaniyeh,
al-Rafeqa and al-Ansar, accusing them of supporting the Damascus government.
Arabic-language al-Watan daily quoted local sources as saying that the US-led
coalition forwarded several personnel carriers and armored vehicles from Iraq
to the Kurdish units stationed in Northeastern Hasaka via the Simalka
say the US intends to disintegrate Syria by means of the Kurdish militias
deployed in the Northern and Northeastern parts of the country.
a similar development last month, a new convoy of US arms and ammunition
entered Syria via Simalka passageway at the border with Iraq.
field sources said that several US military trucks, carrying arms and
equipment, arrived in Syria, adding that a part of the convoy was sent to
Kurdish militias said that they would start large-scale operation against ISIL
in Southeastern Hasaka and Eastern Deir Ezzur.
the Syrian regime’s continuous bombardments and airstrikes on southwestern Daraa, thousands of displaced
civilians are trying to escape to safety away from the military operations and
near the Jordanian border and the areas close to the occupied Golan Heights.
of the displaced civilians sought shelter at thehomes of family and friends,
while others took shelter in schools. Even then, a large number of the
displaced were left stranded in the bushes without any shelter.
United Nations estimated the number of those displaced near the Jordanian
border at 45,000, while the number of the displaced from all areas in Daraa is
far more than the UN figure.
to local sources, some of the displaced took shelter in areas close to the
occupied Golan Heights as the Syrian regime avoided shelling this area which is
close to Israel.
security forces have discovered the bodies of eight security men who were
kidnapped by remnants of the Daesh Takfiri terrorist group last week.
local commander said the bodies were found on Wednesday, two days after a
three-day deadline set by the abductors ended.
June 23, Daesh terrorists kidnapped six Iraqi security forces on the highway
linking the capital Baghdad to Iraq’s north. The highway is the main road that
has witnessed a surge in attacks by members of the terror outfit in recent
after abducting the security personnel, Daesh released a video purportedly
showing six men identifying themselves as either members of the police or the
Popular Mobilization Forces, better known by the Arabic name Hashd al-Sha’abi,
which is mainly composed of Shia Muslim paramilitary troops.
threatened in the video that they would decapitate the abductees in three days
unless the government released female Daesh inmates.
General Muzher al-Azawi, commander of Diyala Operations, said the bodies were
found mutilated and rigged with explosives.
to security and medical sources, the bodies were transferred to a hospital in
the northern town of Tuz Khurmato, south of Kirkuk, where they were being
prepared for burial.
Bahraini Shia and opposition leader Sheikh Ali Salman is to stand trial later
this year as the ruling Al Khalifah dynasty does not shy away from its
heavy-handed clampdown on political dissidents and pro-democracy campaigners in
the tiny Persian Gulf kingdom.
Attorney General Osama al-Awfi said the 52-year-old secretary general of the
dissolved al-Wefaq National Islamic Society will go on trial on September 5
after the Public Prosecutor’s Office appealed a Supreme Criminal Court judgment
on June 21, acquitting the opposition leader and two of his colleagues, Hassan
Sultan and Ali al-Aswad, of spying for Qatar.
November 1, 2017, the three opposition figures were charged with “spying on
behalf of a foreign country... with the aim of carrying out subversive acts
against Bahrain and harming its national interests.”
Salman was also charged with “revealing defense secrets to a foreign country
and disseminating information that would harm Bahrain's status and reputation.”
senior Bahraini Shia cleric has been in jail on a nine-year prison sentence
since late 2014 for what the Manama regime has called “insulting” government
officials, “inciting” unrest through his speeches targeting the authorities
during the 2011 uprising, attempting to overthrow the regime and collaborating
with foreign powers.
Salman denies all the charges, saying he has merely been seeking reforms in the
country through peaceful means.
International and other human rights groups have already censured his arrest
and called for his release.
of anti-regime protesters have held demonstrations in Bahrain on an almost
daily basis ever since a popular uprising began in the country in mid-February
are demanding that the Al Khalifah dynasty relinquish power and allow a just
system representing all Bahrainis to be established.
has gone to great lengths to clamp down on any sign of dissent. On March 14,
2011, troops from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates were deployed to
assist Bahrain in its crackdown.
of people have lost their lives and hundreds of others sustained injuries or
got arrested as a result of the Al Khalifah regime’s crackdown.
March 5, 2017, Bahrain’s parliament approved the trial of civilians at military
tribunals in a measure blasted by human rights campaigners as being tantamount
to imposition of an undeclared martial law countrywide.
an alleged war criminal become president of Myanmar?
Senior General Min Aung Hlaing be brought before the International Criminal
Court (ICC) in The Hague on charges of crimes against humanity, or instead be
popularly elected on a nationalistic wave as Myanmar’s next president?
bets are on for what the future holds for the commander-in-chief of the
country’s highly criticized but politically powerful armed forces.
one hand, rights groups believe the senior general is responsible for
systematic human rights abuses, primarily in Myanmar’s western Rakhine State,
where an estimated 800,000 Rohingya Muslims were forced by military “clearance
operations” into neighboring Bangladesh beginning in late August last year.
refugees brought with them horror stories of rape, murder and arson committed
against them by Min Aung Hlaing’s Tatmadaw, as the military is known locally.
the other hand, some political observers sense the nation’s top soldier has
political ambitions, although he has not publicly announced any plans to run
for office. Given de facto national leader Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League
for Democracy’s (NLD) poor performance since forming an elected government in
March 2016, bringing decades of abusive military or military-backed rule to an
end, Myanmar’s people may already be looking for a fresh alternative.
military’s campaign against the Rohingya was not unwelcome among many in
Myanmar, who see the Muslim minority group as illegal immigrants from
Bangladesh. What the United Nations and international rights groups saw as
“ethnic cleansing” and even “genocide” appears locally to have bolstered Min
Aung Hlaing’s image and popularity.
scenario – referral to the ICC on charges of crimes against humanity or a rise
to the presidency through elections – is necessarily on the cards. But
international pressure is building for some sort of accountability for the
International, a rights group, said in a June 27 report that it had gathered
“extensive” and “credible” evidence to implicate Min Aung Hlaing and 12 other
officials in “crimes against humanity” related to the military’s campaign
against the Rohingya. The report, which claims the violence was “not the action
of rogue soldiers or units” but rather a “highly orchestrated, systematic
attack” calls for the situation to be referred to the ICC.
military commanders, including Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, actually
traveled to northern Rakhine State directly before or during the ethnic
cleansing campaign, to oversee parts of the operation,” the Amnesty report
says. “Senior military officials knew – or should have known – that crimes
against humanity were being committed, yet failed to use their command
authority to prevent, stop or punish those crimes, and even attempted to
whitewash the overwhelming majority of them in the aftermath.”
June 22, ICC judges asked Myanmar to reply by July 27 to a prosecution request
that the court should exercise jurisdiction over the alleged crimes. Myanmar is
not a signatory to the Rome Statute that established the ICC in 1998 and
therefore appears to be outside its jurisdiction. The government has said it
will not formally respond to the request.
possible way around this for ICC prosecutors relates to an application filed by
representatives of victims now before the ICC, which asserts “as an essential
legal element of the crime – crossing an international border – occurred in the
territory of a State which is a party to the Rome Statute.”
ratified the Rome Statue in March 2010. If the application is accepted, the ICC
could use Bangladesh as jurisdiction. But even if the case was brought before
the ICC, it is unrealistic to believe that Min Aung Hlaing would appear in The
Hague to answer the charges. If a guilty verdict were handed down in absentia,
the only likely impact would be that the military commander would find it
difficult to travel to certain ICC signatory countries.
the same time, an ICC verdict and possibly even referral against Min Aung
Hlaing and other top-ranking officers would likely revert Myanmar to the pariah
status it had in the West before certain moves towards more openness were
introduced in 2011 and 2012.
European Union has already imposed sanctions on seven military security
officers for their roles in the campaign against the Rohingya. Two have since
been dismissed from the army, though the move was widely seen as scapegoating
as it’s not possible they acted of their own accord.
Min Aung Hlaing is still unlikely to be prosecuted at the ICC, then would he
consider a run for the presidency? That’s not immediately clear considering he
is much more powerful as commander-in-chief, and even as a retired high-ranking
military officer, than he would be as president or state counselor, the new
position equivalent to prime minister that was created for Suu Kyi after the
NLD’s historic election victory in November 2015 to get around a constitutional
provision barring her from becoming president.
Barany, an American academic and expert on civil-military relations in Asia,
stated in an article for the January issue of Journal for Democracy that “there
has been no significant transfer of power [in Myanmar] from the generals to
elected civilians, and there will be no such transfer unless and until the Tatmadaw
wants it to happen.”
not clear that it does. The army now appoints a quarter of the members of the
Upper and Lower Houses of parliament, a bloc that consistently protects the
military’s autonomous interests. Because more than three-quarters of all MPs
are needed to amend the military-devised constitution, which was adopted after
what most observers consider a fraudulent referendum in 2008, the military can
block any motion to change the charter.
to the constitution, the military can legally take over the government in the
event of a “national crisis.” The military also appoints the heads of the
country’s three most important ministries: defense, home and border affairs.
home affairs ministry controls the police and its Special Branch, which is
assuming the role of the former dreaded secret Directorate of the Defense
Services Intelligence (DDSI), in effect what was a secret police force rather
than an intelligence service. With the Special Branch’s rise, the military has
assumed more direct control over the country’s domestic security apparatus.
all that political, administrative and security power vested in military hands,
there is no clear reason why Min Aung Hlaing would want to relinquish his
top-ranking position to become president, a prestigious title which would make
him a powerless figurehead based in the virtually empty capital of Naypyitaw.
many observers believe that the government is in the driver’s seat, Suu Kyi has
been criticized for the Rohingya crisis despite the fact she has no power over
the military. That has simultaneously given the military insulation from taking
sole blame for the atrocities. Suu Kyi may be accused of not speaking out
against atrocities committed by the Tatmadaw, but that hardly makes her “complicit”
in war crimes, as suggested by some activists who would like to see her
referred to the ICC.
Aung Hlaing is without doubt the most powerful person in the country and is
likely to remain so for the foreseeable future. Born in Dawei in the Thanintharyi
Region in 1956, he studied law at university level from 1972 to 1973 and was
admitted at his third attempt to the elite Defense Services Academy in 1974.
graduation in 1977, he was commissioned as second lieutenant and joined the
regular army, from where he was rapidly promoted. In 2001, he became commander
of the 44th Light Infantry Division and later head of the Western Command, with
responsibility for the borders with India and Bangladesh. From 2005 to 2008, he
served as commander of the Triangle Regional Command in eastern Shan state.
rose to prominence and power when as chief of the Bureau of Special Operations
(2) in 2009 he led an offensive against the insurgent Myanmar National
Democratic Alliance Army in Kokang, a district in northeastern Shan state
dominated by ethnic Chinese. He has been commander-in-chief since March 2011,
replacing the old junta chief, Senior General Than Shwe.
the military’s top soldier, he has deftly outmaneuvered potential rivals within
the Tatmadaw by having them either sacked for corruption or for promoting
officers lower in the hierarchy than those immediately beneath him. In that
way, he has created an officer corps that is immensely loyal to him.
Aung Haling’s outlook on the region is harder to ascertain. He represented the
Tatmadaw at negotiations to strengthen ties with China in November 2011, when
he reportedly signed a bilateral defense agreement for closer cooperation in
security matters along their common border. He also met with Chinese President
Xi Jinping on that occasion.
it was not forgotten, at least not in Beijing, that his first foreign trip
after becoming military chief was to China’s traditional enemy Vietnam. Myanmar
and Vietnam share the same fear of their common, powerful northern neighbor, so
it is reasonable to assume that Min Aung Hlaing had a lot to discuss with his
fact, Naypyitaw insiders assert that Min Aung Hlaing and his fellow officers
think that Suu Kyi is too close to the Chinese and easily manipulated by them.
is too early to predict what will happen at the next election in 2020. There is
no doubt that the NLD has lost much of its former popularity, especially in
ethnic areas where people feel let down by Suu Kyi’s inability to understand
their grievances, but also among urban intellectuals and veteran pro-democracy
activists who have seen the high hopes they embraced in 2015 dashed by the
NLD’s poor performance.
analysts believe that there is little to no chance that the military-backed
Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP), which formed a government after
a widely criticized and allegedly rigged election in November 2010 and held
office until the NLD took over in 2016, will win. But the USDP, and therefore
the military, may aim to split the NLD’s 2015 voting base by making alliances
with regional ethnic parties and promoting splinter parties in the Myanmar
heartland, where the NLD still has a significant following.
is more certain is that the military, which has ruled the country in different
guises since 1962, will remain for the foreseeable future Myanmar’s most
powerful institution. Min Aung Hlaing, who will turn 62 in July, may or may not
retire before then. But given the past history of Myanmar military strongmen accused
of rights and other abuses, he is unlikely to fade from the scene any time
Taliban militants suffered heavy casualties during the airstrikes conducted by
the Afghan Air Force in southeastern Ghazni province of Afghanistan.
203rd Thunder Corps of the Afghan Military in the Southeast said the Afghan Air
Forces carried out a series of airstrikes on Taliban positions in Andar
district, leaving at least sixteen militants dead or wounded.
statement by Thunder Corps stated that the airstrikes were carried out in
Kajir, Jamal Qala, and Muradi areas of the district.
statement further added that the airstrikes left at least seven militants dead
while at least nine others were wounded during the airstrikes.
the meantime, the Thunder Corps said the Afghan forces have reopened the high
connecting Maidan Wardak, Ghazni, and Bamyan provinces.
to Thunder Corps, the highway was closed by the Taliban insurgents, forcing the
Afghan armed forces to launch an operation.
operation was led by the commander of the 203rd Thunder Corps Gen. Shohur Gul,
the statement said, adding that a culvert destroyed by the militants was also
Taliban militants suffered heavy casualties during a deadly clash with the
Afghan security forces in eastern Nangarhar province of Afghanistan.
provincial government media office in a statement said the clash between the
Afghan forces the Taliban militants took place late on Wednesday night.
statement further added at least sixteen Taliban militants were killed or
wounded during the clash sparked by a coordinated Taliban attack.
to the provincial government, the Taliban militants attacked the security posts
in Mamli Bagh area in Khogyani district, sparking heavy clash with the security
least seven Taliban militants were killed and at least nine others were wounded
after the Afghan forces responded to the attack, the provincial government
statement also added that one Afghan police belonging to the public order
police forces lost his life and another was wounded during the clash.
provincial government said the wounded soldier receives treatment and his
health condition has been reported as satisfactory.
‘understands’ need to include foreigner on Rakhine probe commission
Senior General Min Aung Hlaing “understands” why the government has to include
an international figure on a three-member commission to look into alleged
violations of human rights and related issues in northern Rakhine State, U Zaw
Htay, spokesman of the president’s office said on Wednesday.
also denied a news report that the Tatmadaw chief threatened to stage a coup
d’etat over the issue.
recent Bangkok Post story claimed that the Tatmadaw chief warned of a coup if
the government did not perform its duties well and objected to including a
foreigner on the independent commission.
warnings were allegedly made during a high-level meeting on Rakhine affairs at
the Presidential Palace in Nay Pyi Taw on June 8 that was attended by civilian
and military leaders, including Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and Senior General Min
the meeting, the government told the Tatmadaw leaders details of the formation
of the investigating body and its inclusion of a foreigner, U Zaw Htay said.
hearing this, both the Defence Services commander-in-chief and deputy
commander-in-chief said they understood the matter. There was no more harsh
talk. They just gave advice and discussed it,” he said.
U Zaw Htay didn’t say whether the Tatmadaw is amenable to the plan or not.
said the information in the Bangkok Post article made a lot of people worried,
especially citizens living abroad.
at the meeting were parliamentary Speakers, military chiefs and the ministers
of Home Affairs, Defence, Border Affairs, the State Counsellor’s Office,
International Cooperation and the attorney general.
plan to establish a three-member commission to investigate the alleged abuses
in northern Rakhine was announced last month by the government.
it was discussed in parliament, military representatives objected to the plan
in a rare display of division on a matter between MPs of the ruling NLD and
military legislators. The latter insisted that the inclusion of a foreigner on
the panel would interfere with Myanmar’s sovereignty.
United Nations estimates that over 700,000 Muslim residents of northern Rakhine
fled to Bangladesh in the aftermath of attacks launched by Arakan Rohingya
Salvation Army fighters against government security outposts on August 25 last
year and a brutal military counterinsurgency campaign.
Far-Right Extremists Charged In Connection To Muslim Attacks In France
French authorities have charged 10 suspected far-right extremists in connection
with an alleged plot to attack Muslims, a judicial source said Thursday.
nine men and one woman aged 32 to 69 were arrested in raids across France on
REFUGEE CAMP, Bangladesh: The United Nations and the Bangladesh government have
started formally registering hundreds of thousands of Rohingya refugees who
have fled a military crackdown in Myanmar, a move that officials say would help
their eventual return.
than 700,000 mostly Muslim Rohingya have escaped Buddhist-majority Myanmar
since last August, when attacks by Muslim insurgents triggered a military
offensive that the United Nations has likened to ethnic cleansing. Myanmar
denies the accusations and has said it waged a legitimate counter-insurgency
registration programme started jointly by the United Nations High Commissioner
for Refugees (UNHCR) and the Bangladesh government this week is aimed at
creating a reliable database of refugees living in camps on Bangladesh’s
southern coast, said Caroline Gluck, a UNHCR representative.
data, expected to be ready by November, will have family and birth details of
refugees, and will be shared with Myanmar, said Abul Kalam, Bangladesh’s
refugee relief and repatriation commissioner.
will aid the repatriation process,” Kalam said, stressing that any returns
would be safe and voluntary.
of refugees queued up at a UNHCR office at the Nayapara camp, which overlooks
the Myanmar border, providing fingerprints, iris scans and other information to
white registration cards refugees are being given have the logo of both the
UNHCR and the Bangladesh government, and state: “This person should be
protected from forcible return to a country where he/she would face threats to his/her
life or freedom.” They list the refugees’ origin country as Myanmar.
refugees have reported killings, arson and rape by Myanmar security forces and
Buddhist vigilantes, and say they will not return unless they are granted
citizenship in Myanmar. The UNHCR said last month conditions were not yet safe
for Rohingya to return.
senior Myanmar official has told Western diplomats that a proposal to review a
citizenship law that effectively renders most Rohingya Muslims stateless could
not be implemented, five people present at a meeting in Denmark in early June
asked them – are you doing this to send us back to Myanmar?” Shamsul Alam, a
refugee, said he asked UN officials who took down his details. He said he was
told that, while the information would be shared with Myanmar, the programme
was not aimed at repatriation, but would help him get food and other
is important for the refugees to get access to basic services,” UNHCR’s Gluck
said. “Aid agencies need to know how many people are in the population and
have many questions about the programme, some officials on the ground said. Nur
Hashim, another refugee, wondered why the cards did not list his identity as
Rohingya. “They told me UNHCR refugee registration cards don’t mention
ethnicity anywhere in the world,” he said.
and Bangladesh struck a deal in November under which Myanmar would take back
Rohingya refugees after verifying their family details. But in March, Myanmar
said it had been able to verify details of only 374 refugees from a list of
more 8,000 names handed over by Bangladesh, because the information was
jailed for threatening to 'slit a Muslim's throat' on Twitter after terror
man who said he wanted to “slit a Muslim’s throat” in a string of violent
tweets has been jailed for inciting racial hatred.
Chand was reported to police by Twitter users who feared his followers could
carry out his threats.
31-year-old told officers he was disgusted with himself and had merely been
“venting” in the wake of Isis-inspired terror attacks that killed dozens of victims
in Manchester and London Bridge.
Chand was reported to police by Twitter users who feared his followers could carry
out his threats.
31-year-old told officers he was disgusted with himself and had merely been
“venting” in the wake of Isis-inspired terror attacks that killed dozens of
victims in Manchester and London Bridge.
specialist prosecutor assessed the case and determined the posts showed intent
to stir up racial and religious hatred and that such “violent rhetoric can
cause considerable harm once it is in the public domain”.
admitted publishing threatening, abusive or insulting material intended to stir
up racial hatred and was jailed for 20 months at Birmingham Crown Court on
Midlands Police warned that anyone who posts inflammatory messages on social
media risks arrest for committing hate crimes.
Mat Shaer, the force’s lead on hate crime, said: “This case saw the sustained
release of offensive, threatening material aimed at Muslim and Pakistani
communities − it left people fearing some of the threats could be carried out
by him or his Twitter followers.
law is careful to try and not penalise expression of opinion, even in strong
and possibly offensive terms. But Chand’s tweets were a much baser expression
of animosity towards a section of society and were totally unacceptable.
take hate crime very seriously and anyone found to be stirring up hatred on the
grounds of race, religion, sexuality, or disability could find themselves in
court and facing a criminal conviction.
outcomes like this are important in order to reassure communities of our
willingness to make progress in the way we tackle hate crime matches how proud
we are to police such a diverse region.”
result was praised by Islamophobia reporting project Tell Mama, which said:
“Think you can tweet this stuff? Think again.”
have been several recent convictions for inciting racial hatred, including
members of the banned neo-Nazi terrorist group National Action who performed
Hitler salutes and spread stickers calling for a “white zone” around a
and community groups documented surges in Islamophobic hate crime in the wake
of the terror attacks that struck Britain last year.
September, a man who posted a Facebook message calling for “every Muslim in the
country to be killed” in the immediate aftermath of the Manchester attack was
jailed for a year.
Jakovlevs, of Wrexham, pleaded guilty to publishing material with the intention
of stirring up religious hatred.
a speech in Berlin on Wednesday evening, Chancellor Angela Merkel appealed to
Germans to put themselves into the shoes of people fleeing war and persecution.
personal stories show us that fleeing from home isn’t something abstract – it
is about human lives,” Merkel said during a speech at a memorial ceremony for
refugees from the Second World War.
vast majority of those fleeing are victims,” she added.
went on to say that anyone who has not personally experienced being expelled
from their homes can barely understand the suffering involved “but we can
attempt to understand it.”
can listen and learn so that no new suffering comes about because we live in
denial, or ignore what is going on.”
Chancellor is currently embroiled in a bitter dispute with her Interior
Minister Horst Seehofer, who wants Germany to pursue a much tougher approach to
has already ensured that Germany caps the number of refugees who arrive in the
country at 200,000 per year. He is now also trying to push through a new border
policy which would allow Germany to turn back refugees at the border.
in an apparent jibe at Seehofer, on Wednesday evening described migration as “a
key for Geneva University imam course
training course for imams at Geneva University, introducing them to Swiss law
and values, is yielding results. (SRF/swissinfo.ch)
course organisers say Muslim communities are pleased that their representatives
are being sent for training. As part of the “integration” course funded by the
canton, nine imams are studying at the university.
Geneva course is not the only one of its kind in Switzerland. In bilingual
Fribourg (French and German-speaking), the conservative right Swiss People’s
Party tried to stop the opening of the Centre for Islam and Society
(SZIG)external link, which provides courses for imams on Swiss culture and
society. Experts agreed that such a ban was discriminatory because it was
directed against the members of a single religion in breach of the Swiss
director of the SZIG, Hansjörg Schmid, says about half of the 200 imams thought
to be practicing in Switzerland participated in the first 26 workshops. “With
these workshops, we have made a contribution to social co-existence,” he added.
MP Behrooz Bonyadi warned of the consequences of Syrian-Russian rapprochement
at Iran’s expense, and said Syria and Russia are “sacrificing” Iran.
we see Assad increasing his harmony with Putin (in such) a rude way,” Bonyadi
who represents Kashmar, Bardaskan and Khalilabad said at the Islamic Consultative
Assembly’s public session.
added that Assad does not only underestimate the significance of the “martyrs
of the shrines” in Syria, but also denies it.
of the shrine” is the term used by Iran to refer to its members killed in Syria
and to the killed members of militias in support of it.
Iranian Revolutionary Guards’ Quds Force has trained and armed thousands of
sectarian militiamen from Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq and Lebanon to fight in
not unlikely that these two political pawns sacrifice us at the Netanyahu-Trump
altar,” he said in reference to Assad and Putin.
commented on the currency crisis in Iran saying trade between China and Russia
was the reason behind it.
large number of imports and the exit of the currency are imposed on us by
powers (like) China and Russia. The final outcome is gain (for them) and loss
(for Iran). Poverty and lack of trust has thus increased,” he said, adding that
addressing matters in Iran must not be within the military context but within
the economic-political context in order to achieve a winning formula on the
level of foreign policy.
the beginning of the revolution, it did not occur to people’s and officials’
minds that they will witness embezzlement, administrative corruption, poverty,
favoritism, prostitution, hypocrisy, child molestation, wife beating, rape in
schools and Quran classes, sale of kidneys and other shameful acts,” he added.
a medical specialist and a reformist MP, warned the Iranian regime and called
for “unity and for listening to the voices of the oppressed people who grave
officials a chance of 40 years and tolerated (all these) problems.”
statements are a first at the Iranian parliament and they come at a time when Iran
is facing wide-range protests due to the collapse of the Iranian currency
against foreign currency.
have reached several Iranian cities as well as the Bazaar, the heart of Iran’s
commercial economy, which played a significant role in the fall of the Shah’s
regime in 1979.
criticized the “security atmosphere, dealing with protestors outside the
context of law and not tolerating those who voice opposition” and said this was
all tantamount “to the first bell rung on the path to decadence.”
Muslim Council of Britain has written a second open letter to the Conservative
Party criticizing it for not responding to calls for an inquiry into, and
neglecting, the issue of Islamophobia in the party.
weeks ago we wrote to you requesting an inquiry into Islamophobia within the
Conservative party, sadly we have neither received an acknowledgement nor a
reply,” began the letter, written by Harun Khan, the group’s head.
lack of response is deeply disappointing given that we write as the largest
umbrella body of Muslim organizations in the UK with over 1,000 mosques and
Muslim institutions either affiliates or members of affiliates,” the letter
letter argued that it seems “the extent of Islamophobia in the Conservatives is
wider and deeper than originally set out”.
its argument, the letter cited newfound evidence such as “claims that Cabinet
Minister Michael Gove had ‘extreme’ views about Muslims” and that an ethnic
slur had been used to refer Baroness Sayeeda Warsi, a House of Lords member, at
Tory meetings, as well as many Conservative party candidates such as Shazia
Awan and Kushan Devani quitting the party due to its extreme turn to the right.
we last wrote to you, other individuals have shared with us their stories of
experiencing Islamophobia,” the letter said. “They are worried about taking
their concerns to your party because it would be ‘political suicide’ or might
endanger their relationship with their local MP.”
is a sad state of affairs for our democracy and we hope they can be taken up in
an independent inquiry,” the letter said.
a letter to the Tories last month, the council called for an independent
inquiry into Islamophobia within the party. The letter documented “weekly
occurrences of Islamophobia in the party” and urged the Conservative leadership
to take action against members who were explicitly Islamophobic.
letter received strong backing and support from a plethora of groups,
societies, and individuals in the U.K. who furthered the calls for an inquiry,
including editorials in The Times of London and The Observer newspapers.
persons discuss Jakim’s role and Malaysia’s approach to Islam
Council of Eminent Persons today heard from Islamic experts on issues related
to the religion, including the role of the Islamic Development Department
(Jakim) and the different mazhab or schools of thought under Islam.
mufti Mohd Asri Zainul Abidin, who was among those who met the council today,
told reporters they had a lengthy discussion about Jakim.
role was discussed comprehensively and it was a very long discussion,” he said
when met outside Ilham Tower in Kuala Lumpur.
said the council asked him for his views on how Islam could be administered
more fairly but declined to elaborate further.
has come under criticism in recent times for various reasons, such as the
behaviour and approach used by its officers in handling issues, and for its
overlapping jurisdiction with the administration of Islam under the respective
in Malaysia have their own Islamic administration with the state’s sultan or
ruler as the head of the religion.
had also received a large allocation for its yearly budget from the government
and has wide powers, leading critics to accuse it of moral policing.
Penang mufti Wan Salim Wan Mohd Noor, who also met the council today, said he
was asked for his views on the application of teachings from different mazhab
said he told the council that Malaysian Muslims were too rigid in following one
mazhab (Shafie) to resolve issues, when the other schools of thought under
Sunni Islam also had valuable teachings that should not be rejected.
have to be brave to look across all the different schools of thought. We cannot
be limited to one mazhab only. It is about applying Islam according to the
context of the times.
cannot rely on old views that may have been more applicable to issues in older
times,” he said. – June 27, 2018.
Indonesia—Voters in the world’s largest Muslim-majority nation handed allies of
President Joko Widodo victories in regional elections, easing pressure on the
moderate leader from increasingly assertive hard-line Muslims ahead of his bid
for re-election next year.
of millions of Indonesians turned out on Wednesday across this sprawling
archipelago nation for a six-hour peaceful vote for governors, mayors and other
leaders in areas home to more than 150 million voters, about three-quarters of
LUMPUR, June 28 ― Islamist party PAS should not be underestimated as it will
likely be influential in at least the next two general elections after winning
two states in the polls, an academic has suggested today.
Kebangsaan Malaysia's (UKM) Datuk Denison Jayasooria said Malaysians should be
wary of PAS' push for a Shariah-based governance where non-Muslims's place is
under an Islamic society and order.
won two states, and almost influenced two other state governments,” Denison
said in a post-GE14 analysis by the International Islamic University Malaysia
Electoral Studies Unit at the university here.
the polls, PAS had defended Kelantan and taken over Terengganu from Barisan
Nasional. It also almost became “kingmakers” in Kedah and Perak, where the
majority of state seats won by the Pakatan Harapan government was slim.
underestimate PAS, I see them as a real power in next two general elections,”
added the principal research fellow at UKM's Institute of Ethnic Studies.
had compared the rising wave of Islamism to India's Hindutva party Indian
People's Party (BJP), led by Narendra Modi, which won its 2014 general
pointed out that PAS managed to capture 18 per cent of the popular vote,
demonstrating there are still many Malaysians who wish for their version of a
better Malaysia, one based on Shariah principles.
addition, he said PAS also fielded ethnic Chinese and Indian candidates in the
election, although most not only lost the contest but also their deposits.
will be further compounded by the lack of any representation of Kelantan and
Terengganu in the Cabinet, and the absence of a ministry in charge of racial
unity and integration, he warned.
said it remains to be seen what variant of Shariah will be sought, its
implications, the extent to which Putrajaya is being pressured to implement
these, and whether Malaysians will support such a push.
election, there is this contestation of religion, race, and inter-religious
harmony, which has become more central,” he said.
KINABALU: Umno acting president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi urged Sabah Umno members to
remember their roots and the reason why Umno spread its wings to Sabah with the
help of the now-defunct United Sabah National Organisation (Usno).
to about 1,000 Sabah Umno delegates here today, Zahid implied that Umno is a
continuation of the people’s beloved Usno party and came into Sabah with the
blessings of Usno founder, the late Datu Mustapha Datu Harun.
was not always the government. They were in the opposition before and then
became the government before losing to become the opposition again.
merging with Umno, we fought together and eventually we became the government
now, we have lost the election but believe me, we will rise again. The point
is, we must not think that because we have lost this election, we are dead and
buried,” he said.
attempt to boost the spirits of the Sabah Umno members using their historical
ties with Usno was a clear U-turn from previous statements by Umno leaders with
regards to Usno.
several local Umno leaders were dismissive of Usno and its influence on the
Muslim voters in the state. Some members viewed this as an affront to the
memory of Mustapha, whom they regarded as the most important Muslim leader in
the other hand, Parti Warisan Sabah president Shafie Apdal took the opposite
approach by successfully positioning himself as the heir of Mustapha, winning
the hearts and minds of the Muslim voters in the state.
were attempts by former Sabah Umno chief Musa Aman to try and emulate Shafie’s
strategy but, at the time, the boat had already sailed and Shafie was by then
seen as the “next Mustapha” by his supporters.
Umno delegate from Sipitang, who preferred to remain anonymous, told FMT that
many party supporters already sensed the winds of change blowing once Shafie
was accepted as the “new Tun Mustapha”.
thought we could stem the tide by talking about what Umno has done for the
people. But in the end, it is still the sentiment that wins the day,” he said.
whether the attempt by Zahid — and Khairy Jamaluddin, who also talked about the
importance of Usno during his visit to Sabah yesterday — to rebrand Sabah Umno
as Usno of the old will succeed, he shook his head in disagreement.
it will work to a point but eventually we need a leader who can rival Shafie.
The ones we have now are either too weak, too green or not even a Bajau or
Suluk,” he said.
and former chief minister Harris Salleh were responsible for inviting Umno to
Sabah in 1990, with Mustapha chosen as the first liaison chief.
by 1994, Mustapha’s relationship with then prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad
had soured, leading to Mustapha’s decision to work together with then chief
minister Joseph Pairin Kitingan in the state election that year.
Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) won the election by a simple majority but lost it
following defections by its assemblymen to Barisan Nasional (BN).
National Army says Al-Shabaab supreme leader dead
Somali National Army (SNA) Radio has reported the death of the supreme leader
of the Al-Shabaab jihadists Ahmed Dirie Abu Ubeyda.
broadcaster run by the military, reported that Abu Ubeyda died in Jilib
District in Middle Shabelle, about 410km south of Mogadishu.
report could not be independently confirmed, but the local media outlets have
been reporting about the ill-health of Abu Ubeyda and the infighting within the
jihadist group over his succession..
southern Somalia military officer, Mr Ismael Sheikh Isaq, reportedly told the
SNA Radio that the army received credible information that the Al-Shabaab leader
died of kidney failure.
gave no date for of the death.
Ubeyda assumed the leadership of the Al-Shabaab in December 2014, three months
after his predecessor Ahmed Abdi Godane alias Sheikh Mukhtar Abu Zubayr, was
killed in a US drone attack.
jihadist group has neither confirmed nor denied the alleged death of its
US is known to have placed $6 million bounty on the head of the Al-Shabaab
Al-Qaeda-linked Al-Shabaab emerged as the armed wing of the Islamic Courts
Union (ICU), which later splintered into several factions after its defeat in
2006 by the Somali Transitional Federal Government (TFG) and the Ethiopian
group describes itself as waging jihad against "enemies of Islam",
and is fighting against the Federal Government and the African Union Mission to
Haram: Nigerian troops battle insurgents in Borno, kill six, rescue 33
Ameh Comrade Godwin
of 242 Battalion deployed in operation LAFIYA DOLE have killed four Boko Haram
terrorists at Bulabulin and Falamari villages in Damboa Local Government Area
of Borno State during an exchange of fire.
also recovered dangerous weapons such as, four AK 47 rifles, four magazines, 52
rounds of 7.62 mm (special) ammunition, one 36 Hand Grenade, three locally made
Improvised Explosive Devices.
Chukwu, Director Army Public Relations in a statement said troops of 151
Battalion while on patrol along Myanti-Darel Jamel road in Bama Local
Government Area of Borno State encountered some Boko Haram terrorists and
neutralized one of the insurgents.
said items such as one AK 47 rifle, one magazine, 22 rounds of 7.62 mm
(special) ammunition were recovered.
troops of 21 Brigade while on clearance operation at Yerimari Gana, and Darel
Salam villages in the outskirts of Bama Local Government Area of Borno state,
neutralised one Boko Haram terrorists, items also recovered include, one AK 47
rifle, one magazine, 26 rounds of 7.62 mm (special) ammunition, three
improvised rounds of ammunition, three pairs of military uniform, one solar
persons comprising eight men, 12 women and 13 children were rescued by the
troops during the operation.
armed group kidnapped Fathi Al-Majbari, the vice president of the presidential
council of Libya's National Accord Government, from outside his home in
Tripoli, a day after he announced his support of Field Marshall Khalifa
Haftar’s decision to hand over oil ports to a Libyan oil institution affiliated
with East Libya authorities.
interim government in East Libya led by Abdullah al-Thani condemned the
abduction of Majbari and said in a statement it was a reaction to his support
of handing over the oil ports.
said it was following up on reports of the kidnapping of Majbari and his
bodyguard and on the situation of his other bodyguards who were shot by
unidentified gunmen, adding that this incident, which is a “reckless act,”
confirms that “Tripoli still suffers (due) to extremist terrorist and armed
interim government said the UN mission and the head of the presidential council
hold the legal and criminal responsibility if the kidnapped are harmed.
Monday, Majbari said in a statement that he supports Haftar’s decision to hand
over oil ports and fields to a national oil corporation in East Libya. He cited
the continuation of the culture of elimination and marginalization, injustice
in the distribution of the country’s resources and the damage to production and
export zones as a result for his support of the move.
Sudan's president signed a peace agreement with rebels on Wednesday including a
ceasefire to start in 72 hours, Sudan's foreign minister said, but rebels
rejected other parts of the deal.
agreement made in the Sudanese capital Khartoum aims to end a war in which tens
of thousands of people have been killed. Previous peace deals have broken down.
parties will continue talks in Khartoum to discuss the arrangements for
implementing the ceasefire, and after it comes into place the issue of
power-sharing will be discussed," Sudanese Foreign Minister Al-Dirdiri
Mohamed Ahmed told Reuters.
framework agreement comes ahead of a final settlement and would allow access
for humanitarian aid, prisoners to be freed and a transitional unity government
to be formed after four months, Ahmed said.
comes after two days of talks between President Salva Kiir and rebel leader
Riek Machar, a former vice president. The country's civil war began in 2013,
less than two years after it gained independence from Sudan.
war has uprooted a quarter of South Sudan's population of 12 million, ruined
the country's agriculture and battered its economy.
agreement signed today and the ceasefire will end the war in South Sudan and
opens a (new) page," Machar told reporters after the signing ceremony,
hailing what he said would be a building of trust with South Sudan's northern
agreement signed with other opposition leaders provides for the new unity
government to rule for three years, followed by a general election, Ahmed said.
said he would "commit respectfully" to the deal.
of the proposed points of the agreement was to have three different capitals
for South Sudan to distribute power but a spokesman for Machar rejected this.
will sign the framework today, with some amendments. Most notably, we reject
the three capitals - South Sudan is one country - and we reject foreign forces
coming into our land," the spokesman, Mabior Garang Mabior, said,
apparently referring to proposed monitoring of the ceasefire by regional
African group Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) and African
also reject the resumption of oil production prior to a comprehensive
negotiated settlement," Mabior said.
deadly attack on a mosque in Malmesbury on Thursday has highlighted intense
divisions among Muslim clerics around the country, that apparently stems from
an accord signed in Cape Town earlier this month, which was meant to foster
on Thursday, two worshippers were killed and others wounded in the attack on
the mosque in the small Western Cape town.
attacker was shot dead by police.
this stage, however, there is no established proof that the attack is related
to the Cape Accord.
attack comes five weeks after another one at a Shia mosque in Verulam,
this month, the Cape Accord - a document meant to encourage peace and unity -
was signed in Cape Town by several Islamic leaders.
online invitation to sign the accord outlined what it was about.
the current climate of intra-faith hostility and increasing attacks on foremost
figures within our faith community, it befits leading institutions and
organisations in our societies to synergistically ally with one another to
proactively engage each other in promoting understanding, tolerance, harmony
and fraternal union," it read.
the Cape Accord has not been welcomed by all, and differing opinions about it
have caused divisions.
Cyril Ramaphosa referenced the Cape Accord on May 30 during a speech in Cape
Town. He was speaking as a guest of the Muslim community for the Ramadan iftar
programme, headed by Muslim Judicial Council president Shaykh Irfaan Abrahams.
his speech, he said South Africa did not merely tolerate Muslims, but embraced
will never be a country that allows discrimination of any sort. In this regard,
I commend the speedy response from both the Muslim Judicial Council and the
Cape Accord in condemning any possible sectarian motives that may have been
behind the gruesome attack at the Verulam Shia Mosque, just as we were
welcoming this holy month of Ramadan," an excerpt of his speech, tweeted
on Ramaphosa's official account, said.
more extreme views of the Cape Accord have been shared.
week, a voice note did the rounds of a man, believed to be a well-known Muslim
cleric, saying: "Anybody who signs the Cape Accord is a Kafir
Wednesday, the Muslim Judicial Council of South Africa issued a statement on
its Facebook page headed: "A call for tolerance and unity in our
said the month of Ramadan had been extremely difficult for Muslims in the
slander and disrespect'
was plagued by much controversy, discord and disunity, from defamation and
slander, to blatant disrespect and takfirism (excommunication).
discord had a direct impact on our reputation as a tolerant and dignified
community, who pride ourselves on our Din (religion) in our beautiful land,"
the Muslim Judicial Council (SA) has NOT endorsed the Cape Accord, we reject
the declaration of Kufr (disbelieve) on our Úlama, individuals, and
organisations associated with the Accord."
don't deserve the vitriol'
statement referenced two organisations, saying these did "not deserve the
vitriol that has been levelled at them – which is unbecoming of Muslims".
South African National Zakáh Fund (Sanzaf) - a faith-based organisation, and
one of those referenced by the Muslim Judicial Council - initially appeared to
support the Cape Accord.
the publication The Majlis ran an article on June 9 criticising this move.
by joining the haraam 'Cape Accord', has displayed its true colours which it
has hitherto concealed from Muslim contributors. Now that it has clambered
aboard the Shiah 'Cape Accord' wagon, it has denuded itself from the cover
under which it has for decades concealed its religion. But people of
intelligence had not been befooled by this modernist entity," this article
Tuesday, Sanzaf then issued a statement saying it had withdrawn from the Cape
said in offering support to the Cape Accord, it had wanted to uphold the
dignity of people, as well as project a positive image of Islam.
these factors are instrumental to social cohesion and are aligned to the
organisation’s values, the Cape Accord itself, was met with dissenting views
from various communities and Ulama fraternities," the press release said.
quoted Sanzaf national chairperson Shauket Fakie as saying: "After a wider
consultation and, due to consideration, we are withdrawing our support of the
are doing so for the very principles that we supported and the document
initially - to promote peace, harmony, tolerance, mutual respect and
Jamiatul Ulama KwaZulu-Natal also issued a statement on the Cape Accord on
Tuesday, saying it was committed to educating its constituency about the
"dangers of the Shia religion", but doing this within legal
parameters and without inciting violence.
said these commitments had existed before the Cape Accord.
if we had to sign the Accord, it would not approve or enhance the above two
commitments in the least. Our non-signing of the Accord and distancing
ourselves from it will not diminish these two commitments even by an iota...
is apart from the fact [that] the Accord is already achieving one of its major
and ominous objectives of splitting the Muslim Ummah. It has earned itself the
title of 'Cape Discord'."
Monday, the United Ulama Council of South Africa (UUCSA) issued a statement
headed "Has the Cape Accord led to greater discord?", which argued
that it had "achieved exactly the opposite of its intended purpose".
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